Monash-based cancer researchers involved in collaborative research programs focused on children’s cancers, genomic risk profiling and cancer co-morbidities were beneficiaries of the latest Medical Research Future’s Fund grant, announced by the Federal Minister for Health, The Hon Greg Hunt on 30 June.

Associate Professor Ron Firestein, Head of the Centre for Cancer Research at Hudson Institute will receive $9.6 million to establish the Victorian Paediatric Cancer Consortium (VPCC), that will leverage the unique research expertise and clinical capabilities across the Monash and Parkville precincts. VPCC is a new multi-institutional partnership which will focus on discovery research projects, including next-generation precision oncology, tumour immunotherapy and epigenomics. The collaboration aims to make a difference for the thousands of Australian kids each year facing a cancer diagnosis.

A further $3million has been awarded to a collaborative nation-wide research program led by Associate Professor Paul Lacaze. Locally this program brings together the strengths of Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine and the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, where Dr Tu Nguyen-Dumont will lead the genomics research that will identify unaffected young people at high cancer risk.

An additional $1.7million will support a randomised clinical trial investigating whether people with melanoma who are treated with checkpoint inhibitors are at greater subsequent risk of experiencing cardiovascular events. The trial will be led by Professor Stephen Nicholls from Monash University’s Victorian Heart Institute.

“These progressive programs of research will produce internationally significant outcomes and I offer my sincere congratulations to the teams who have come together to achieve these outcomes”, said Prof Melissa Southey, Research Director, MPCCC, Chair of Precision Medicine at Monash University and Director of Biobanking Victoria.