30 March 2004

The University of Queensland's IMB Institute for Molecular Bioscience is one of just three recipients of the largest research grant ever given by the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF).

Announcing the 2004 funding allocation today, ACRF Chairman Tom Dery said $3.3 million would be provided for three major research projects now taking place at Australia's foremost cancer research centres - the Institute for Molecular Bioscience in Brisbane, Garvan Institute in Sydney and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.

IMB Director Professor John Mattick welcomed the news of the $1.2 million funding grant for the Institute and said it represented the ACRF's foresight and commitment to invest in leading-edge research in Australia.

"Research into the basic cellular processes that underlie cancer is making a very real difference to the quality of life and survival rate of cancer patients, so it is an honour for the IMB to receive funding from the ACRF to progress research in this area," Professor Mattick said.

The IMB in Queensland will use the funding to establish a state-of-the-art Dynamic Imaging Facility for Cancer Biology to be led by Professor Alpha Yap and his team.

Minister for State Development and Innovation Tony McGrady congratulated the IMB on winning the grant and said it was further recognition that cancer research being conducted in the Smart State is of a world-class standard.

"I sincerely congratulate Professor Alpha Yap and his team at the IMB for the excellent work they're doing," Mr McGrady said.

Professor Yap said the ACRF would establish a facility not found elsewhere in Australia and enable the pursuit of cutting-edge approaches to experimental imaging of cells, tissues and whole organisms.

"These new facilities will integrate the IMB's cancer research efforts, many of which directly impact on tumour biology through understanding basic biology and therapeutic development in Australia," Professor Yap said.

"Cancer involves both uncontrolled cell growth and uncontrolled movement of cancer cells in the body; so we need to understand what controls cell growth and movement normally and establish what is disturbed in disease states like cancer, to be able to develop more effective treatments, diagnostics and therapeutics."

He said the ACRF funds would enable the purchase of two new state of the art microscope systems, which would be housed in a purpose-built laboratory in the Queensland Bioscience Precinct.

"These new microscopes will enable IMB researchers to visualise the complex chemical messages cells use to 'talk' to each other, what causes cellular differentiation, how cells move around the body particularly in the case of tumours, and assist in designing of anti-tumour agents."

Almost one third of Australian deaths each year are caused by cancer and statistics indicate that most Australians will be affected by cancer either through family or friends. In the vicinity of one in three males and one in four females will be affected by cancer at some time in their lives.

Mr McGrady said this was a fantastic achievement for the University of Queensland's IMB and proof that the Beattie Government's investment in Smart State science and research was paying dividends.

"Top-quality research demands top quality infrastructure and the State Government's $92.5 million investment in the construction of the IMB and in its operation over the next 10 years will certainly be money well spent."
IMB is one of Australia's leading bioscience research institutes. With outstanding facilities and a fully integrated research program in systems biology, IMB is exploring the information contained in the genes and proteins of organisms to develop a better understanding of human health and disease, as well as ensuring this research is applied to the benefit of our community.

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