Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) have developed Canberra’s first Brain Cancer Biobank with funding from the ACT Health Research Innovation Fund.

The Canberra Brain Cancer Collaborative, led by Professor Leonie Quinn, created the biobank using an A$300,000 grant from the 2022 Research Innovation Fund round.

The biobank stores brain cancer biospecimens and genomic data from patients treated at Canberra Hospital, contributing to Brain Cancer Biobanking Australia.

This virtual biobank hub allows researchers across the country to access brain cancer tissue, samples, and data.

ANU’s researchers are utilising the biobank’s information to create 3D bio-printed ‘mini brains’ for studying tumour growth, treatment responses, and testing personalised therapeutic drugs.

The initiative is expected to advance cancer treatment and clinical care, providing patients with innovative analysis and guiding them toward relevant clinical trials and emerging treatments.

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Canberra Brain Cancer Collaborative Lead and Research and Innovation Fund recipient Leonie Quinn said: “While survival for many cancers has increased significantly in the past two decades, outcomes for brain cancer patients have remained poor.

“The ACT Health Research Innovation Fund has provided us with an exciting opportunity to explore the complex environment where brain cancer occurs and ultimately develop new treatments.

“The biobank will enable more personalised treatments, which are critical to improving survival rates and quality of life for people diagnosed with the disease. It will secure the ACT as a health research hub and improve the clinical experience of cancer patients around Australia.”