News and Events

News

  • Honour for BCBA Founding Chair in Brain Cancer Awareness Month

    May 2022

    Brain Cancer Awareness Month has begun with wonderful recognition for our Founding Chair, Professor Michael Besser AM, who has been awarded the 2022 Neurosurgical Society of Australasia Medal in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to neurosurgery and the neurosurgical community.

    Professor Besser spearheaded the development of the BCBA Consortium in 2015 and his leadership and knowledge have been invaluable since. He became an integral part of the vision for BCBA following his care for Lucie Leonard as her neurosurgeon. 

    I’m sure we’re not the only family forever grateful for his skill and care as we came to grips with the realities of a brain cancer diagnosis,’ said BCBA Founder, Robyn Leonard. 

    Congratulations to Professor Besser from all at BCBA! 

  • On the Road to a Cure for Brain Cancer

    April 2022

    A massive thank you to all those who travelled down to the Southern Highlands and took to the road (braving the many potholes) to support our fundraising arm, the Brain Cancer Collective, and in turn the work of the BCBA Consortium. As our Director, Robyn Leonard says,

    'These passionate cyclists are the heart and soul of our charity. We’re just so grateful for their support, particularly to Kent Williams at Entoure de Vines who organised this event in lieu of our annual 2-day Bike Ride for Brain Cancer – postponed yet again due to COVID, but hopefully back on the road in 2023.'

  • Helping To Move The Dial On Brain Cancer

    March 2022

    To all involved with the SOHN HEARTS & MINDS Investment Leaders Conference we say thank you for your valuable ongoing support for the work we do every day to bring about change in brain cancer. 

    Because of you we are able to keep putting in the hard yards needed to provide access to scarce tissue samples for research and build a long overdue registry of clinical data to improve the delivery of care for all brain cancer patients.

  • 3 Year Funding Grant for New Approach in GBM Research

    February 2022

    Working with BCBA members at the Sid Faithful Brain Cancer Laboratory and Cell Culture Bank at QIMR-Berghofer, Dr Lachlan Harris has received grant funding for his novel approach to tackling the deadly brain cancer, glioblastoma (GBM). Calling on his experience as a developmental biologist, Dr Harris is targeting GBM by attacking the slowly dividing or ‘sleeping’ stem cells that resist treatment and cause the tumour to recur. By forcing these cells to ‘wake up’ and divide rapidly, they become more vulnerable to chemotherapy, thereby delaying or even preventing recurrence. It’s an approach that has been shown to be effective in leukaemia, but to date has not been tested in brain cancer.

  • Season’s Greetings and Thank You

    December 2021

    Thank you to our amazing collaborators and supporters. Despite the many challenges of the past year, BCBA has enjoyed some fantastic successes and we look forward to continuing our work with you in 2022 to bring about change in brain cancer. 

    Wishing everyone a happy, restful and safe holiday season.

  • What matters for people with brain cancer? Selecting clinical quality indicators for an Australian Brain Cancer Registry

    December 2021

    BCBA is very proud to have this work published in the prestigious international Journal of Neuro-Oncology Practice https://doi.org/10.1093/nop/npab055

    BCBA Chair, A/Prof Lindy Jeffree, led the team developing this world-first set of clinical Indicators, which will benchmark the collection of data for BCBA’s Australian Brain Cancer Registry initiative. The aim of this project is to identify, describe and measure the impact of variation and gaps in brain cancer care across Australia, with the overarching goal of ensuring that all brain cancer patients receive the best existing treatment.

  • Giving Thanks and Raising Funds!

    November 2021

    BCBA Founder/Director, Robyn Leonard is still fundraising for brain cancer research because the stats haven’t changed!! For decades people diagnosed with brain cancer have faced with the same dismal outcomes.

    "There is a cure, we just need to do more research to find it", says Robyn. "I’m very thankful for the researchers and clinicians who are searching tirelessly for a breakthrough and the generous people who donate to the cause – without them we stand still, with the same outcomes and the same limited treatment options".

    So this is BCBA’s Thanksgiving Fundraiser. Please donate to help fund more research into brain cancer, to keep hope alive for people diagnosed with this cruel disease.

  • Providing patient-derived brain cancer cell lines to researchers around the world

    October 2021

    Transitioning from clinical nutritionist to pre-clinical researcher, BCBA Steering Committee member, Prof Bryan Day, has not only gained national and international recognition for the brain cancer research program he has established at QIMR Berghofer’s Sid Faithfull Brain Cancer Research Laboratory, but also for the much sought-after GBM cell lines the lab is generating.

    “These models are freely available to the scientific community” says Prof Day. “We want to make sure that brain cancer researchers have access to these materials to ignite discoveries and get new treatments for this disease”.

    Prof Day and his team have been collaborating with the neurosurgeons at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital to develop a brain tumour tissue bank, collecting over 350 samples to date. It is from these specimens that the primary cell lines are derived to facilitate both their own research and that of collaborating researchers around the world.

    “This work is a testament to the critical importance of biobanking in enabling next generation brain cancer research”, says BCBA’s Founder/Director Robyn Leonard.

  • Leading Biobanker, Fraud Detective and BCBA Steering Committee Member

    September 2021

    Like many scientists, a fascination with what we don’t know led Professor Jenny Byrne to choose a career in research,

    “It seemed like the only option, and it still does” she says.

    A molecular oncology professor, Byrne’s passion for biobanking has seen her transition from lab researcher to Director of Biobanking for NSW Health Pathology and focus her efforts on investigating the contribution made to research by human tissue biobanks.

    Prof Byrne is not only a leader in the biobanking field, but also a prominent figure in the world of science publishing. Her remarkable work in exposing fraudulent academic manuscripts was recognised with a 2017 listing in Nature’s 10 – the renowned journal’s annual list of the 10 people who mattered most in science.

    Jenny’s particular interest in the networking of biobanks at a national level led to her early and ongoing involvement with BCBA. Asked about her continuing commitment to the Consortium’s work she said,

    "It’s so important that biobanks and researchers can talk with each other – and it’s great to work with a group with a national vision for both brain cancer research and biobank support of research.”

  • Guiding Bioethics at BCBA

    August 2021

    “Getting paid to read, write and think” is the best part of her job according to oneofAustralia’s leading researchers in bioethics and long-time BCBA Steering Committee member, A/Prof Wendy Lipworth. 

    Starting out in medicine before switching to bioethics, Lipworth has built a successful program of research at the University of Sydney.  Her work, with its particular focus on biomedical and health technology innovation, has been cited in more than 1500 publications worldwide.  

    Her co-authored book, Medical Professionals: Conflicts and Quandaries in Medical Practice, highlights the challenges facing today’s medical professionals as they strive to make sense of the changing landscape within healthcare.

    “We’re very lucky”, says BCBA Founder/Director Robyn Leonard, “Wendy is always on hand to provide advice. Her expertise has been invaluable to the Consortium these past 6 years”.

    Lipworth describes the most rewarding thing about being involved with BCBA as,

    “Seeing such dedicated people working tirelessly towards a goal and being able to bring my understanding of ethics to that cause”.

  • Replica Brain Tumours Driving Research in South Australia

    July 2021

    Organoids - they’re known as the ‘crash-test dummies’ of the research world – tiny replica organs derived from human stem cells and created in a lab dish.

    BCBA consortium member and Head of the Tissue Architecture and Organ Function Laboratory at South Australia’s Centre for Cancer Biology, Dr Guillermo Gomez, is using this organoid technology as part of his lab’s novel approach to accelerating precision medicine in brain cancer – developing treatments that are targeted to individual patients according to the genomic makeup of their tumour.   

    “Working with samples derived from patients brings our research findings closer to translation into the clinic” he says. “This possibility is different from the past, as research models did not replicate all the details of humans' brain cancer disease”.

    Gomez was drawn to the work of BCBA through the Consortium’s efforts to provide labs like his with access to the number and type of tissue samples needed to drive research. Commenting on his involvement with BCBA, Guillermo says,

    “I see this as a valuable resource for brain cancer research in Australia. These efforts are precious now as we have entered the Big Data era, and we hope it serves to bring solutions to people affected by brain cancer”.

  • Championing Clinical Trials in Low Grade Glioma

    June 2021

    BCBA Steering Committee member, Professor Hui Gan has created and led one of the few Australian trials for patients with relapsed low and intermediate grade brain tumours. The LUMOS trial fills the void for people with these universally fatal gliomas who would otherwise have almost no access to clinical trials. But amazingly, Professor Gan doesn’t rate this achievement as his biggest contribution;

    “I actually think that my biggest contribution to date has been being part of, and helping to extend, the number of people actually focused on improving outcomes for brain tumour patients and helping create collaborations between people and groups,” he said.

    It’s this passion for collaboration that led him to join BCBA, bringing with him the drive to improve patient outcomes through clinical trials and translational research,

    “It’s the feeling of being part of a group that is always selflessly looking out for what the neuro-oncology community needs and then pursuing that fearlessly”.

  • Sequencing for every childhood brain cancer patient

    May 2021

    BCBA consortium member, Associate Professor David Ziegler has big plans for 2021. The paediatric oncologist at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, is expanding the Zero Childhood Cancer program, with the aim to offer complete tumour sequencing for every childhood brain cancer patient in the country. The program has so far identified the genetic basis of a child’s cancer in more than 90 per cent of cases, giving 70 per cent of participants at least one new potential treatment option.

    Ziegler has been spearheading the program since it began with a local pilot in 2016. His interest in paediatric oncology was sparked early in his career, and he continues to be motivated by seeing his patients respond to a new treatment his team has developed.

    David was drawn to commitment of the BCBA to inspire the best research and build productive networks,

    “What I love about BCBA is that no problem is too large and nothing is impossible – obstacles are viewed as challenges that must be overcome and the focus is always on the endgame and the patients who need the investment of research and discovery”.

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Events

  • The Alfred Brain Ball - Melbourne

    May 2022

    This black tie event is being organised by the Alfred Brain Tumour Bio-databank and Central Clinical School at Monash University to raise funds for their biobanking and research operations. The ball is scheduled for Saturday 7th May 2022. Tickets are available at $250 per person.

    If you are interested please contact Ms. Emily Galea on E.Galea@alfred.org.au or (03) 9076 5879.

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