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UNSW Medicine’s Plight to Cure Brain Cancer

At the start of Brain Cancer Action Week, Gold Logie winner Carrie Bickmore has done an outstanding job of raising awareness of brain cancer, and the need for further funding and support.

Associate Professor Kerrie McDonald, Head of the Cure Brain Cancer Neuro-Oncology Group, has been working in the field of Brain Cancer research for over 10 years. She believes raising awareness and support of brain cancer research will be crucial for improving outcomes for people with brain cancer.

“One of the most amazing stats is the survival of breast cancer patients is now over 95 per cent after five years. But when you take that statistic to brain cancer, only less than 5 per cent of patients are still alive after five years. “You look at breast cancer and the awareness comes from the survivors," says Associate Professor McDonald.

Over the past five years, The Cure Brain Cancer Neuro-Oncology Group at UNSW has been driving personalised medicine for patients diagnosed with brain cancer. Established in 2010 with the support of the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, the largest dedicated funder of brain cancer research in Australia, the CBC Neuro-Oncology Group has the goal of matching individual patients to the right and most effective treatments. The lab achieves this through careful biobanking of the tumour tissue, whole genome sequencing of the tumour, and state of the art mouse models to show that the treatment is effective.

Brain cancer research receives little government funding, compared to other areas of cancer research. Much of the funding comes from the community, and philanthropic support.

"If we had the money, if we had the power, if we had the know-how, we would be able to see results like what we were seeing in breast cancer,” says Associate Professor McDonald.

UNSW Medicine gratefully acknowledges our supporters, who make a huge difference to Brain Cancer Research at UNSW.

Cure Brain Cancer Foundation – Australia’s largest dedicated funder of brain cancer research, and primary supporter of the Cure Brain Cancer Neuro-Oncology Group

The Olle Fund for Brain Cancer Research – Established in the memory of Andrew Olle, who died tragically of brain cancer in 1995. All funds raised are used to fund vital brain cancer research.

The Higher Thinking Fund – Established through the fundraising efforts of husband and wife Dave Taylor and Shalom Andrews, Higher Thinking focuses on the research of low grade brain tumours.