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GEN News Highlights : Jan 30, 2007

Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Cancer Therapeutics Formed with $177M

Country’s first cooperative enterprise will focus on small molecules.

Negotiations are being finalized for the formation of the Cooperative Research Centre for Cancer Therapeutics (CRC-CT) through a A$37.6 million award. CRC-CT, a consortium including seven Australian research organizations, Bionomics and Millipore/Chemicon of Australia, and Cancer Research Technology of London, will focus on the discovery and development of small molecules for targeted cancer therapies.

"With cancer killing more Australians than any other single cause there is an urgent need for more effective therapies,” remarks Dick Fox, chairman-elect of CRC-CT and a medical oncologist. “Australia invests over $150 million each year in cancer research, and the creation of CRC-CT provides a catalyst for translation into new therapies through bringing together immense knowledge, expertise, and resources to realize the therapeutic potential in the outstanding research being carried out at Australian research institutes."

Besides the award from the Australian Federal Government, CRC-CT will also receive contributions from the participants totaling $148 million. CRC-CT is funded for seven years and will be headquartered at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Biotechnology Centre, Melbourne, Victoria.

CRC-CT will develop new therapies for treating cancer in four critical areas: disrupting blood vessels that feed cancers, preventing cancer cells invading other parts of the body, adjunct treatments to minimize the side effects of chemo and radiotherapies, and overcoming resistance of tumors to chemotherapies.

"CRC-CT will benefit enormously from the experience and track record of Cancer Research Technology in developing and commercializing cancer therapies,” says Fox. “In fact our goal is to use this experience to develop a sustainable development and commercialization company for cancer therapeutics to benefit Australians in the long term.”