MPCCC research partnership with Monash BDI to improve future accuracy of precision medicine

Professor Helen Abud
Professor Helen Abud

A new MPCCC partnership with Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute (Monash BDI) will investigate whether innovative research technologies, including multi-omic and organoid profiling, can improve the future accuracy of precision oncology.

Cancer patients referred to the MPCCC Molecular Screening and Therapeutics Program are now offered the opportunity to contribute to future research by consenting to share their tumour samples with the Monash BDI’s multi-omics and organoid program.

By generating integrated, personalised cancer ‘profiles,’ Monash BDI researchers hope to better inform and increase future therapeutic opportunities for cancer patients.

“Current genome screening tests are typically restricted to analyses of known mutations in a small number of cancer genes,” said Professor Roger Daly, Cancer Program Lead and Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Monash BDI.

“This means that important molecular changes in a cancer can go undetected, and patients miss out on trying potentially effective therapies,” Professor Daly commented.

‘Multi-omics’ include cutting edge molecular and functional analysis techniques that may offer more comprehensive patient screening for molecular alterations than current genomics screening alone.

“Techniques like transcriptomics, proteomics, immunoproteomics and phosphoproteomics can be used to generate a comprehensive molecular profile that may identify new targeted therapy options for a patient, or identify biomarkers that predict response to therapy, including immunotherapy,” said Professor Daly.

Armed with a more accurate patient profile, the Monash BDI organoid program, led by Professor Helen Abud, can test whether particular therapeutics will be effective for specific patients, by using mini patient tumours grown in the lab to monitor response. These mini tumours are called ‘organoids.’

“We have established a strong pipeline of analysing tumour drug response in colon and breast cancer with our collaborators Professor Paul McMurrick and Professor Gary Richardson at Cabrini Health. It is wonderful to extend this program to work more broadly with the MPCCC,” said Professor Abud.

The pilot discovery program will initially focus on triple negative breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and cancer of unknown primary. Results of the multi-omics and organoid screening program will be reviewed by MPCCC’s Molecular Tumour Boards.

About the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University

Committed to making the discoveries that will relieve the future burden of disease, the newly established Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University brings together more than 120 internationally-renowned research teams. Our researchers are supported by world-class technology and infrastructure, and partner with industry, clinicians and researchers internationally to enhance lives through discovery.