Paediatric brain tumour immunotherapy research awarded Ideas Grant funding

Dr Pouya Faridi has been awarded funding to further his work into novel targets for paediatric brain tumour immunotherapy.

Congratulations to Dr Pouya Faridi who was recently awarded an Ideas Grant in the 2020 round of the Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme.

The Scheme brings together government and other funders to fund cancer research in Australia. It is managed by Cancer Australia, collaborating with the NHMRC, which assesses applications and endorses grants in recognition of their scientific merit.

Dr Faridi (Purcell Lab) will use the grant funds to further his work into novel targets for paediatric brain tumour immunotherapy. His project is a collaboration between Monash University, the University of Zurich, McGill University and the University of Pennsylvania.

“Around 40% of all cancer deaths in children is due to brain cancer,” Dr Faridi said. “We have developed new technologies which opened our eyes to (previously) hidden targets for treatment,” he said.

“We are also working closely with families who have lost their beloved children because of brain cancer. We hope our efforts lead to treatment for currently untreatable brain cancers in kids.”

While acknowledging that the ‘right’ treatment might be a long way off Dr Faridi said, “I am very excited, motivated and feel responsible to bring new hopes to patients and their families through my research.”

The project is co-funded through the Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme by Cancer Australia, the Australian Lions Childhood Cancer Research Foundation, and My Room Children’s Cancer Charity.

Dr Faridi said he’d like to thank Professor Tony Purcell for his support and guidance, and also the Isabella and Marcus Foundation for its contribution to the project.

2020 was a successful year for Dr Faridi.

He gained a Victorian Cancer Agency (VCA) 2020 Mid-Career Research Fellowship (Biomedical Stream), announced this February. The research grant funds scientists to work on ground-breaking discoveries.

It was awarded in recognition of, and to progress Dr Faridi’s research into developing precision vaccines for paediatric brain tumours, with a focus on Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), the deadliest type.

In October last year, he was honoured in the Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium’s (MPCCC) inaugural State-wide search for Outstanding Cancer Research.

The prestigious award sets out to identify and reward cancer research excellence in Victoria and encourage future research leadership.

A month earlier, Dr Faridi was part of a collaborative study published in ‘Cancer Immunology Research’, led by the BDI and Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI) which uncovered new markers that uniquely present on melanoma tumours.

This work could pave the way for therapeutic vaccines to be developed in the fight against melanoma, which kills one Australian every five hours.

The Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme is supported by Cancer Australia, Australian Lions Childhood Cancer Research Foundation, Cure Cancer, Leukaemia Foundation, My Room, National Breast Cancer Foundation, and The Kids’ Cancer Project.

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. Spanning six discovery programs across Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Development and Stem Cells, Infection and Immunity, Metabolism, Diabetes and Obesity, and Neuroscience, Monash BDI is one of the largest biomedical research institutes in Australia.  Our researchers are supported by world-class technology and infrastructure, and partner with industry, clinicians and researchers internationally to enhance lives through discovery

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