Bowel cancer research project
This 12-month project investigated malignant tumours which over-produce EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptors). These tumours are found in bowel cancer (the second highest cause of cancer after lung cancer) head and neck, non-small cell lung cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and breast cancer. The current treatments available for these tumours are only effective in 60% of tumours. There is no treatment available for the remaining 40% of these tumours.
A 2016-17 AUSiMED research grant, thanks largely to the Finkel Foundation, (plus a matching Victorian Government grant) for a project conducted by world leading medical researchers Professor Tony Burgess (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) and Professor Alexander Levitzki (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) has advanced the development of a new immunotherapy for resistant forms of bowel cancer towards the clinic. The project builds on an innovative technology, developed by Prof Levitski, for delivering a powerful immunotoxin to kill cancer cells via the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR). The scientists synthesised and tested their anti-cancer reagents in various animal models with very promising results. When these results came to the attention of Swiss biotech firm TargImmune, they then committed to funding anti-cancer clinical trials at WEHI in 2019.