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2020 Pilot & Seed recipients announced

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News Articles
02 April 2020

Sydney Catalyst is proud to announce the recipients of 2020 Pilot and Seed Grants. This year we awarded $200,000 in funding to four recipients across the translational spectrum:


 InĂªs Silva & team, Melanoma Institute of Australia                                                      

Improving survival in melanoma by matching optimal drug therapy for individual patients

This project will focus on identifying new mechanisms of resistance to immunotherapy associated with the presence of melanoma liver, bone and brain metastases. The researchers will use melanoma as the model to identify these mechanisms of resistance that might be present across other cancer types. The project will give new insights that will define new therapeutic targets to overcome resistance specific to the liver. The results will be key in the design of new clinical trials for patients with liver, bone or brain metastases (possibly from different cancer types) who do not respond to immunotherapy.  


Brooke Pereira & team, Garvan Institute of Medical Research                                   

Dual targeting of stromal and immunological aberrations in pancreatic cancer by combining perlecan inhibition with immunotherapy

The outcomes of this project will directly assess the capacity to specifically manipulate the desmoplastic tumour microenvironment to improve immunotherapy response in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), using domain-specific monoclonal perlecan antibodies. These findings could then inform clinical applications, in line with other pre- clinical and clinical studies. This research proposal encompasses innovative imaging techniques with unique and robust in vivo models, enabling context-dependent assessment of cancer cell behaviour in live tumour tissue.



Anne Cust & team, Melanoma Institute of Australia and the University of Sydney       

Pilot evaluation of the implementation of systematic melanoma risk assessment and tailored skin surveillance and patient education in dermatology clinics

This project involves evaluating the implementation of a novel risk-stratified approach to melanoma screening, surveillance and patient education at the dermatology clinics of three major melanoma diagnostic and treatment centres in Sydney. The primary outcome measure will be patient acceptability tailored screening and surveillance schedules based on individual risk.


Claudia Rutherford & team, The University of Sydney                                  

Development and implementation barriers of a new patient-reported outcome measure for radiotherapy related inconvenience

The implementation of a validated patient-reported outcome measure (PROM) for radiotherapy (RT) inconvenience in research and clinical practice has the potential to improve survival, HRQOL and decision-making of patients in need of RT. Using the PROM developed in this project, research can examine the ways in which RT inconvenience is affected by certain interventions and develop ways to improve or manage this outcome to encourage the uptake of treatment. In clinical practice, clinicians can closely monitor patient needs in regards to RT inconvenience, so as to tailor their care around specific inconveniences for each patient. Identifying and subsequently addressing identified needs may facilitate the uptake of RT.


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