Publish Date: 
Tuesday, December 8, 2015 - 16:00

TRI SPORE Grant Winners Announced

Four successful applications will receive a total of $340,000, and critical in-kind support, through the 2015 Translational Research Institute (TRI) Spore Grants.     The four grants will play an integral role in finding new approaches to diagnosing and treating infection and cancers by answering an important clinical question with a clear translational outcome. 

The 2015 TRI Spore Grants were awarded to the following projects: 

  1. Obesity-induced Barrett’s oesophagus and associated cancer: mechanisms and diagnostic tools.

Recent studies indicate that early molecular changes in Barrett’s oesophagus may be associated with malignant progression to adenocarcinoma.  Dr Michelle Hill and her team, with support from Agilent, will investigate the hypothesis that obesity may promote Barrett’s oesophagus and oesophageal adenocarcinoma development by disrupting cellular lipid homeostasis; and that tissue and/or blood lipid signatures can be useful for early diagnosis of these conditions.

  1. Towards biomarkers for patient stratification in sepsis

In this proof-of-principal study, Dr Antje Blumenthal will bring together internationally renowned scientists, biostatisticians and clinicians, and a corporate leader in the development of RNA marker-based molecular pathology technologies, with the ultimate aim of defining biomarkers that enable stratification of critically ill patients with sepsis, to provide tailored treatment strategies. 

  1. Portable, single-sided MRI for routine, low-cost analysis of mammographic density

High mammographic density (MD) is related to an increased risk of breast cancer and impacts on the detection using mammograms.   Professor Erik Thompson and his team will investigate the potential of Magritek’s NMR-Mouse, a single-sided MR scanner, for its ability to provide a portable, low-cost assessment of MD and mammary irregularities for the early detection and prevention of breast cancer in geographically and economically diverse communities.

  1. Nucleoplasmin (NPM)1 a critical repair protein required for genomic stability. 

Dr Ken O’Byrne and his team, in collaboration with Clovis Oncology, are employing a multidisciplinary approach to targeting genome stability pathways to tackle cancer. The work in this project focusses on the characterisation of NPM1, a protein the group recently identified as a critical player in genome stability pathways.

To be successful, a project needed to meet a number of criteria.  It needed to have investigators from at least three of the TRI Shareholders, which includes Queensland Health, the Queensland University of Technology, The University of Queensland and Mater Research.  It needed letters of support from the TRI Shareholders acknowledging their financial contribution.  The project also needed to include at least one active clinician and a commercial partner committed to supporting the translational aspect.  The projects that met this criteria were then ranked on their scientific merit and given an overall ranking. 

Stay tuned in 2016 for more information about these projects.