Extra funds for fighting cancer

Four Flinders University projects aimed at advancing life-saving cancer research have been awarded funding as part of Cancer Council SA’s Beat Cancer Project, one of the state’s largest funding collaborations.

Professor Bogda Koczwara and Dr Craig Wallington-Gates have each been successfully awarded a Beat Cancer Project Clinical Investigator Award of $80,000, while Associate Professor Robyn Meech and Associate Professor Luke Selth have each been awarded a $75,000 Research Project Grant in support of their respective research projects.

Beat Cancer Project Clinical Investigator Award 

Professor Bogda Koczwara, a medical oncologist and senior staff specialist at the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, has received funding for her project ‘Can treating cardiovascular disease improve cancer outcomes?’. 

The proposed research aims to improve outcomes for cancer patients affected by cardiovascular disease (CVD) through greater understanding of the burden and predictors of CVD in cancer, and the development of a CVD pathway and resources to support best practice care.

“It will generate new knowledge relating to the burden of CVD in cancer, and the preferred approach to management, that will inform translation into clinical practice and policy,” says Professor Koczwara.

“This research is highly relevant to cancer control as majority of patients with cancer have CVD risk factors and premature death from CVD is observed across all cancer types. The research is of high relevance to cancer patients and consumers and addresses an unmet need that is not currently systematically addressed by any other research group in Australia.

“As CVD is associated with lower socioeconomic status, it particularly affects patients who already have inferior cancer outcomes and thus are most in need of interventions. This is an area of significant, unaddressed gaps in knowledge and practice where research is urgently needed.”

Dr Craig Wallington-Gates is a Consultant Clinical Haematologist at Flinders Medical Centre and Senior Research Fellow in the College of Medicine and Public Health.

His project – ‘Developing B cell maturation antigen (BCMA)-functionalised, GPX4-inhibitory liposomes to target multiple myeloma cells by inducing ferroptosis’ – aims to develop a novel class of liposomal therapeutics that directly target multiple myeloma cancer cells and induce their death by ferroptosis, a recently described form of cell death.

“Not only will this research significantly contribute to biological science by increasing our knowledge and understanding of ferroptosis but it also has the potential to extend the survival of patients with this incurable cancer,” says Dr Wallington-Gates.


(l-r) Professor Bogda Koczwara, Dr Craig Wallington-Gates, Associate Professor Luke Selth and Associate Professor Robyn Meech

Beat Cancer Research Project Grants

Associate Professor Luke Selth is a Cancer Council SA Beat Cancer Principal Cancer Research Fellow in the Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute (FHMRI) at Flinders University, where he leads the Prostate Cancer Research Group.

The aim of is his project – ‘Harnessing androgen-mediated viral mimicry to improve immunotherapy in prostate cancer – is “to investigate how androgens influence the immune system in prostate cancer with a long-term goal of harnessing androgen therapies to improve immunotherapy response,” says Associate Professor Selth.

Associate Professor Robyn Meech is an Associate Professor in Pharmacology in the College of Medicine and Public Health and has received funding for her project ‘Novel Regulators of Androgen Receptor activity in Castrate Resistant Prostate Cancer’.

12 research fellowships and grants were awarded in South Australia across a broad spectrum of cancer research projects, ranging from cancer prevention and early detection through to treatment. The grants will commence in 2022 and last for one year.

Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project is a South Australian state-wide initiative intended to support and advance cancer research within the state. A collaboration between Cancer Council SA, the State Government, SAHMRI and the South Australian universities, the Beat Cancer Project is the largest funder of cancer research in the state outside of the Federal Government.

More information can be found here.

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College of Medicine and Public Health