Revolutionary advances in microscopy provide an opportunity to break a roadblock in cancer research

14 November 2016

A $2.3M grant from Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) is being awarded to The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) today to establish the new ACRF Cancer Ultrastructure and Function Facility (CUFF).

The nation-leading facility will provide cutting-edge imaging capabilities for tracking and visualising cancer.

Researchers will be able to see cancer cells grow, spread and respond to drugs in real time.

This will help them learn how cancer cells behave and change, and ultimately, develop new treatments to control cancer.

Read related media coverage via Brisbane Times.

IMB Director and brain cancer researcher Professor Brandon Wainwright said the facility would ensure Queensland researchers were well placed to change the experimental paradigms of cancer research.

“Despite outstanding developments in understanding the genetic changes in cancer, we are still learning how these changes cause cancers to grow and spread,” Professor Wainwright said.

“With the help of this advanced optical and electron microscopy technology, and a skilled multidisciplinary research team, we can now break through some of the scientific roadblocks that have stood in our way towards a cure.”

Australian Cancer Research Foundation CEO Professor Ian Brown said ACRF was proud to continue to support the cutting-edge research being carried out at IMB.

“Donations received by ACRF help to provide researchers with the most powerful tools available,” Professor Brown said.

“The three new microscopes at IMB will allow researchers to observe the structure and function of living cancer cells in real time with unprecedented resolution, giving them the opportunity to optimally target and fine-tune cancer treatments.

“It is our hope that they will assist IMB in making significant contributions to the global understanding of how cancers grow and develop to improve treatments and patient outcomes.

“It is our mission to do everything we can to provide Australia’s best researchers with the tools they need to end cancer,” Professor Brown said.

The new ACRF Cancer Ultrastructure and Function Facility represents an apex of multidisciplinary efforts. Biologists, clinicians and chemists will work together to build a deeper understanding of cancer biology and pioneer new therapeutic approaches to beat the disease.

ACRF has supported cancer research at The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience since 1994. Over the past 22 years, ACRF has awarded three grants totalling $7.1M to the institute for research into all types of cancer, and almost $20 million to the University overall.

The ACRF Cancer Ultrastructure and Function Facility will be located at The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience in Brisbane, and involves researchers from UQ’s IMB, Diamantina Institute, Faculty of Medicine, and Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis.

Contacts: Gemma Ward, IMB Communications, 07 3346 2155, 0439 651 107,; Jessica Reynen, ACRF Communications, 02 9210 7415,