Our cancer researchers are internationally recognised clinicians, researchers and educators. Our expertise spans the basic sciences, clinical trials, implementation research, public health and health services research. From experience, we know that cross-disciplinary collaboration is the most effective way to turn scientific discoveries into cures.
Our vision is to unite cancer research into a globally-leading partnership to deliver continuing evidence-based practice in diagnosis, intervention and support.
What is cancer – the deadly disease that affects the lives of millions of people around the world each year? And… why do some people get it, and others not? In this video UNSW Medicine cancer researcher A/Prof Darren Saunders says cancer is one of the greatest health challenges of our time. There is so much more to do to advance prevention, treatment and cure this deadly disease.
Cancer will affect 1 in 3 men and 1 in 4 women by the age of 75. Medical research has transformed the outlook for cancer patients in recent decades. Better treatment and survival mean there are now hundreds of thousands of people in NSW who have cancer or are living with it.
Our research aims to benefit people at all stages of their encounter with cancer – from prevention to treatment and survivorship support. We focus on the following key areas:
• Cancers with poor outcomes (lead Prof David Goldstein): We are prioritising traditionally under-funded and neglected cancers where the survival rate has not improved such as brain, sarcomas (and rare cancers in general), pancreas and ovary. We are working to find new therapeutics and better management of advanced disease for people with these cancers. Critically, our ability to attract Phase I pharmaceutical studies in difficult-to-treat cancers like glioblastoma and pancreatic cancer is already demonstrated by research teams based at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre (Randwick precinct) and Ingham Institute (Liverpool precinct).
• Bringing ‘omics’ into clinical practice (lead Prof David Thomas): In the wake of the explosion of knowledge about the human genome, proteome (the proteins expressed by cells and tissues) and metabolome (the chemicals found in cells) we believe it is imperative to now translate these gains into better clinical practice. We are working to link 'omic' information with the vast store of clinical and radiological data so that knowledge gains in the laboratory can drive improved diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The Garvan Institute are at the forefront of this research internationally and have unique infrastructure and experience to bring to the collaboration.
• Reducing unwarranted variation in clinical practice (lead A/Prof Winston Liauw): Variation in clinical practice can result in avoidable trauma for cancer patients and unnecessary costs to our healthcare system. There is a critical need worldwide to build research infrastructure to analyse the nature, cause and consequences of clinical variation. We are building a unique information platform to enable a consistent approach to data collection and reporting, so patterns, value and outcomes of cancer care can be evaluated effectively. The Centre for Big Data Research in Health and their ERICA framework is key to this initiative.
• Living better with and after cancer (lead Prof Meera Agar): The focus of this area is to improve outcomes for palliation and survivorship, so patients can live better with and after cancer. The prevalence of cancer is at least five times the cancer incidence, meaning there are hundreds of thousands of people in NSW who have had cancer or are living with it. We are working to develop innovative approaches which provide better, individually tailored and more cost-effective care to those who are living in the community with cancer and its effects.
Our goal is to unite and consolidate cancer research into a leading international partnership that improves the survival and quality of life for all people affected by cancer. Working through the four Areas of Focus, we are building co-ordinated research teams to leverage, focus and build scale on current and developing strengths.
We partner with consumers, government and non-government organisations, charities and industry to achieve significant breakthroughs in areas of health that are clinically relevant and rapidly implement the findings to improve outcomes.
Many of our researchers are also clinicians who work in:
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District
South Western Sydney Local Health District
St Vincent's Hospital Sydney
Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick
Our research is conducted in renowned centres and institutes, including:
Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research
Lowy Cancer Research Centre
Children’s Cancer Institute
Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Centre for Big Data Research in Health
Our clinicians and researchers collaborate through the Cancer Institute NSW Translational Cancer Research Centres, helping to accelerate implementation of research findings into clinical practice and to increase research productivity and quality.
We also lead the Cancer Clinical Academic Group (Cancer CAG) within SPHERE, an NHMRC-accredited Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre. This alliance harnesses the power of researchers and clinicians at three Universities, three Medical Research Institutes and four major Sydney Teaching Hospitals.
We are leaders in running clinical trials, including Australia’s first Molecular Screening and Trials study in rare cancers, the first medicinal cannabis study and other large-scale investigator-driven international Phase 2/3 studies. Through the Garvan’s Illumina XTen facility, which is unique in the Southern Hemisphere, we are discovering new genes associated with cancer risk and progression that will lead to preventative and therapeutic targets.
We host outstanding clinical facilities that deliver complex services to difficult and rare cancer cases and are involved in the global fight for cancer control through involvement with United Nations agencies such as the World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Cancer Clinical Academic Group Strategy 2017 – 2019.