Oral cancers to be detected earlier thanks to Qld govt grant

19 Jun 2012

The University of Queensland School of Dentistry’s Oral Oncology Research Program has secured major grant funding to support new research.

Funding of $0.5 million will support the development of clinical and molecular diagnostics for the early detection and treatment of head and neck cancer.

The funding is part of the Queensland Government’s $3.5 million grant for the Herston Imaging Research Facility and Cancer Molecular Diagnostics, combined with $1.38 million of funding from Cancer Australia, industry partners and UQ.

It was secured by Associate Professor Camile Farah, (Chief Investigator and Group Leader) and Dr Pauline Ford (Associate Investigator) in collaboration with colleagues at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

"One of the biggest problems with oral cancer is the low survival rate and poor quality of life resulting from the disease and its treatment,” Dr Ford said.

"Early detection of oral cancer is so important to improving these outcomes.

"This project will allow us to screen large numbers of people to detect the early asymptomatic stages of the disease and provide them with access to the care they need." 

The Oral Oncology Research Program based at the UQ Centre for Clinical Research draws together clinicians and scientists with expertise in head and neck cancer research.

This team also includes Dr Martin Batstone, Dr Maurie Stevens, and Dr David Fielding, as well as Glenn Francis and Ms Sandra Stein from the MaCH-R Laboratory at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, and Professor Cindy Shannon from the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health

Industry collaborators include Agilent TechnologiesLife TechnologiesOlympus Australia, and Colgate-Palmolive Australia

“This collaboration enhances our program’s current research capability, and will drive further development as the group translates research into diagnostic devices which will significantly improve patient outcomes,” Associate Professor Farah said.

Associate Professor Farah said recent advances in genomics and molecular biology technology would underpin molecular marker development. 

“Such markers can serve as the basis for new genomics-based diagnostic tests and can also pave the way for the development of new therapeutics,” he said.

Associate Professor Farah also acknowledged the support of UQ Faculty of Health Sciences Executive Dean, Professor Nicholas Fisk, and the Deputy Executive Dean (Research) Professor Bruce Abernethy.

“It is gratifying to receive further funding for this and their support is greatly appreciated," Associate Professor Farah said. 

Media Contact: Inga Read, Marketing and Communications Officer, University of Queensland, School of Dentistry, P: (07) 336 58173 or i.read@uq.edu.au