Since its formation in 2013 the Mark Hughes Foundation has funded the following initiatives:
1. A state of the art Brain Cancer Biobank at Hunter Medical Research Institute - a vital resource for researchers
2. A dedicated Brain Cancer Care Coordinator at John Hunter Hospital. We continue to assist patients with Sandy Nixon the MHF Brain Cancer Care Coordinator continuing the amazing work of Jane Morrison and making a difference for patients and families during their treatment, an important part of Sandy’s role is to gather data on improvements that can be made to patients journey for future lobbying and funding opportunities
3. Various Travel Grants to allow brain cancer researchers to attend international conferences to present their work and establish important research collaborations
4. We have a PHD student undertaking a two year project at HMRI and SNOG looking into IDH-MUTATED GLIOMA, a much needed area of research.
5. A pilot project with Dr Jennette Sakoff which could help us to identify disease progression through blood tests
6. A three year “HMRI Clinical Research Fellowship” for Brain Cancer to Dr. Mike Fay in the area of radiation oncology.
7. Communal Brain Cancer Research register with Brain Cancer Biobanking Australia. Mark Hughes Foundation (MHF) is spreading its funding wings nation-wide with a new grant for Brain Cancer Biobanking Australia (BCBA) that will help establish a communal research register for brain tumour and blood samples donated by patients around the country.
BCBA serves as a virtual hub for 17 independent brain cancer biobank centres across Australia, including the MHF sponsored facility based at the Hunter Medical Research Institute in NSW. All currently use different databases to store clinical information on donors and samples.
MHF is providing $74,500 to assist BCBA in building the national biospecimen database, which it hopes will become the largest centralised registry of brain cancer tissue and data in the world.
“Brain cancer research increasingly relies on the availability of tumour samples and associated data but the biobanks across Australia tend to be geographically and operationally disparate,” BCBA founder Robyn Leonard said. “We believe that coordination is essential to streamline access to the number, quality and type of tissue samples that researchers need.”
“We’re very grateful that the Mark Hughes Foundation has recognised the value in what we’re doing and have been prepared to support us. It’s a huge boost to our capacity to draw together all those individual collections and maximise the materials available for brain cancer research.”
Robyn started BCBA after her daughter Lucie lost a seven year battle with brain cancer in 2012. Her vision to create Australia’s first brain cancer biobanking consortium was quickly supported by clinicians and researchers.
(Image: Robyn Leonard and MHF members Kirralee Hughes and Kris Buderas at the HMRI Awards held recently)