Today in Australia, 4 people will be diagnosed with a brain tumour. This equates to 1600 tumours in Australia each year. These may be benign or malignant. Present day treatments include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, drug treatments or a combination of these. Mortality is high in patients with a malignant tumour with only 22% of these patients being alive after 5 years. For those who do survive, the side effects of the current drug treatments are often truly terrible.
Our work involves looking at how to effectively kill brain cancer cells with minimum side-effects. We will examine the use of several FDA-approved drugs currently used in other neurological diseases, such as severe anxiety; drugs not previously considered for brain cancer therapy. The benefit of using drugs already approved for use in humans is that the massive time and financial investment in developing and testing these has already occurred and therefore the time to market for a new application is likely significantly reduced. Additionally we will test novel related drugs, developed by our collaborators, for their ability to kill brain cancer cells in the same experiemental system we have developed.
This funding from the Brain Foundation will allow us to bring together an experienced team of experts in a collaboration between Melbourne University, Monash University Faculty of Pharmacy, The Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Together we will work towards our goal of finding more effective and safer therapies that are better tolerated by patients diagnosed with malignant brain cancer.