$5 million for research to treat rare genetic conditions and cancer

Westmead Hospital Professor David Gottlieb.

Research focused on innovative treatments for cancer and rare genetic diseases has just received a $5 million NSW Government injection.

Four world-class NSW researchers will share in the funding to support trials for cell and gene therapies to treat rare genetic conditions and cancer, such as neurological disease.

Dr Antonio Penna, Executive Director of the Office of Health and Medical Research, said the $5 million boost will support NSW researchers to remain at the forefront of these rapidly-moving fields

“The funding will provide real benefits to patients and improve the quality of health care across NSW,” Dr Penna said.

Among the four recipients was Professor David Gottlieb from Westmead Hospital who said he will use the funds to test the value of new immunotherapy for serious infection in transplant recipients.

“Many patients who have had bone marrow transplants for leukemia and other blood cancers die from serious infections,” he said.

“This grant will allow us to test a new type of treatment that strengthens the immune system and helps to fight off potentially fatal virus and fungus infections.”

Other grant recipients include Professor Ian Alexander from the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Associate Professor Greg Neely from The Charles Perkins Centre, and Professor John Rasko AO from the Centenary Institute.

Gene therapy involves the delivery of DNA into cells. One method is through the use of viruses also called viral vectors. All four of the funded projects will develop manufacturing capacity for clinical-grade gene transfer vectors in NSW.

In 2018-19, the NSW Government is investing $115 million in medical and scientific innovations to help fight diseases, including $20 million for paediatric precision medicine over four years and $60 million for cardiovascular medical research over four years ($150 million over 10 years).