Research Funded by CCQ

Research Funded by Us

“This vital support will help us accelerate our lung cancer screening and early detection research in order to save lives…without CCQ’s support, we would be unable to undertake this work”. Prof Kwun Fong – CCQ ACCR Grant Recipient.

You can read about our recently awarded cancer research grants below.

Accelerating Collaborative Cancer Research (ACCR) Grants


Lead Investigator: Professor Andrew Barbour

Administering Institution: The University of Queensland

Project Title: Assessment of tumour phenotype for precision medicine in oesophageal cancer via deep learning analysis of medical images

Cancer is a major burden to the health system in Australia and across the world. This project focuses on oesophageal cancer, a disease with dreadful outcomes and few therapeutic options. Despite advances in therapy, tumours evolve and develop resistance to treatment. Patients with advanced disease have a small window for treatment, often only a few short months. New surveillance tools are needed to improve health outcomes for late-stage cancer patients.

We will undertake a complex assessment of PET/CT scans and pathology slides. Firstly, we will use deep learning computational methods to identify new image markers reflective of the tumour profile. To confirm our findings, we will assess the matched tumour specimen using genomics methods and pathology tests similar to those used in clinical testing. Finally, we will develop a risk prediction model complements current patient diagnostics and provides improved precision medicine.


Lead Investigator: Professor Amanda Ullman

Administering Institution: The University of Queensland

Project Title: Preventing adverse events during paediatric cancer treatment: A multi-site hybrid randomised controlled trial of innovative catheter lock solutions

Professor Ullman and team will undertake the world’s first clinical trial of a central line lock that may prevent complications such as infections, blood clots and line blockage for children with cancer.

One of the first procedures a child undergoes when being treated for cancer is the insertion of a central line. This hollow tube is inserted into the great vessels leading to the heart, and allows the administration of treatments (e.g., chemotherapy) and supportive therapies (e.g., blood transfusions, antibiotics). Despite how vital these central lines are, they can result in infections, blood clots or become blocked during treatment. When the central line is not in use, it needs to be ‘locked’ with a fluid. This trial aims to compare traditional ‘lock’ therapies, with a new ‘lock’, called T-EDTA. This product could make it difficult for bacteria to grow (reducing infection), and blood and medications to attach to the plastic (reducing blood clots and blocked lines).

The clinical trial includes over 800 CVAD (central venous access devices)-based treatments for children, and will be based across Queensland, including clinicians, scientists from five hospitals and three universities. The team will work together to try to prevent infections, blood clots and other complications interrupting a child’s treatment for cancer.

Lead Investigator: Professor Kwun Fong

Administering Institution: The University of Queensland

Project Title: Lung Cancer Screening in Queensland

Professor Fong’s team will undertake the first ever implementation research of feasibility and effectiveness of CT screening, in conjunction with smoking cessation, for detecting curable lung cancers in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

This research will help inform whether there is a place for mobile lung cancer screening for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, if the Government decides to introduce a national lung cancer CT screening program for at-risk people. The research will also inform if and how mobile screening may be effectively delivered for these communities.

To read more about these grants click here.


Lead Investigator: Professor Sandi Hayes

Administering Institution: Griffith University

Project Title: The ECHO trial: A randomised, controlled trial evaluating the effect of exercise during chemotherapy for ovarian cancer on survival and health resource use

Ovarian cancer has the worst survival of all gynaecological cancers, with only 45% of those diagnosed living longer than 5 years. Its treatment is associated with high levels of morbidity, declines in quality of life and unmet supportive care needs. Exercise during and post-treatment for cancer has consistently been shown to benefit function and quality of life. Yet, the vast majority of the evidence in support of exercise post-cancer stems from studies involving patients with early-stage disease and predicted ‘good’ prognosis. There is a pressing need to determine if exercise is also appropriate and beneficial in cancer cohorts with low-survival and high cancer- and treatment-related morbidity, such as is the case for women with ovarian cancer. ECHO is a clinical trial designed to determine the effects of an exercise intervention during first-line chemotherapy on survival from ovarian cancer. The study will also assess other outcomes of importance to women including function, quality of life, treatment adherence and costs. If the study shows these outcomes are better with exercise, then exercise should become part of standard care of ovarian cancer. Further, findings will provide a solid indication for the potential benefit of exercise in other cancers, including more rare cancers.

 Lead Investigator: Professor Kiarash Khosrotehrani

Administering Institution: The University of Queensland

Project Title: Advanced technological approach to predicting survival in patients diagnosed with locally invasive cutaneous melanoma

In most patients, surgical removal of a cutaneous melanoma cures the disease however in a small number of patients the melanoma may spread and ultimately lead to death. The challenge is to identify as early as possible the patients that will ultimately die, in order to give more aggressive treatment with recently developed drugs and improve their chances of survival. In this project, we propose to use established banks of melanoma tissue as well as a large group of Queensland patients with cutaneous melanoma to be followed prospectively. We will collect clinical details, genetic and gene/protein expression information in tumours and blood samples from each patient and their tumour using the latest technologies, allowing us to explore in parallel thousands of potential predictors of disease progression simultaneously. Comparing the blood and tumour sample results between those with no evidence of disease and those with a tumour relapse will help establish new pathology tests to predict an individual’s risk of tumour progression. This prospective longitudinal Queensland study will provide for the first time the means to identify patients at risk of melanoma death, raising hope for improving their survival outcomes through earlier drug therapy.

To read more about these grants click here.


The following Accelerating Collaborative Cancer Research Grants have been awarded in honour of Don and Ray Paech and their philanthropic contribution to Cancer Council Queensland.

Lead Investigator: Professor Penelope Webb

Administering Institution: QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Project Title: PROMISE: Patient-Reported Outcome Measures in cancer care: a hybrid effectiveness-Implementation trial to optimise Symptom control and health service Experience

In Queensland there were more than 280,000 cancer survivors in 2015; nationally the total is expected to reach 1.4 million by 2020. It is thus important we care for those affected in the most cost-effective way. Two recent trials found cancer patients who completed regular on-line questionnaires (electronic patient-reported-outcome-measures, e-PROMs) to tell their healthcare team how they were feeling, had better quality of life and significantly better survival than those receiving usual care. However, other studies have reported more modest benefits. As these systems are being introduced into clinical practice, it is important they are tested to ensure they are both effective and cost-effective in the Australian setting. We propose a randomised trial to test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the use of ePROM tools in routine cancer care to improve patient outcomes. If the tools are effective, this would lead to improved quality of life for cancer patients and lower mortality rates. They would particularly benefit those in rural/remote areas who have to travel to major centres for follow-up. It will also support adaptation of the tools, co-designed with specific cultural populations to ensure relevance, further optimise access and ensure equality for all Queenslanders with cancer.

Lead Investigator: Dr Nicola Waddell

Administering Institution: QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Project Title: LUCKI STARS: Lung cancer knowledge in immunogenomics to stratify therapeutic resistance and sensitivity

LUCKI STARS (Lung cancer knowledge in immunogenomics to stratify therapeutic resistance and sensitivity) is a new 11-member multi-disciplinary research network dedicated to developing diagnostic tools and therapeutic interventions to improve our understanding of lung cancer patient response or resistance to immunotherapy. Immunotherapy describes a collection of biological agents that boost the patient’s immune system to fight disease. These therapies work very well in some lung cancer patients, but not others. The team wants to know why this is and how to make this strategy effective for every patient. The team comprises cross disciplinary expertise including clinical care of lung cancer, and research experts in genomics, immunology and detection/prognostic biomarkers. Lung cancer is a major killer and key unmet clinical needs are to: 1) understand lung cancer patient response and resistance to current immunotherapy; 2) develop biomarkers of lung cancer response and resistance; and 3) treat lung cancer earlier with new combination immunotherapies. The team will interrogate the best available human lung cancer samples from clinical trial patients pre- and post-treatment. They will be using a variety of cutting-edge, integrated methodological approaches to evaluate the cancer cells and immune cells to improve patients’ response to therapies.

Funding Opportunities

Cancer Council Queensland is proud to offer funding opportunities for cancer research in Queensland. Cancer Council Queensland Next Generation Cancer Research Fellowships Cancer Council Queensland is pleased to offer a funding opportunity for early career researchers in Queensland: “Cancer Council Queensland Next Generation Cancer Research Fellowships”. Cancer Council Queensland is partnering with the National Health…