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Funding boost for Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer

Date: 24/08/2017


The Collie Foundation has awarded a $300,000 grant to the Cabrini Monash University Department of Surgery and Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer, a Cabrini health promotion initiative, in support of its world-leading research in organoids.

“This philanthropic grant confirms the continuing importance of the colorectal research platform that has been built at Cabrini Health with a new team of research scientists and collaborations, together with the impact of performing ground-breaking clinical and translational bowel cancer research,” said Associate Professor Paul McMurrick. “

Associate Professor McMurrick says the grant will allow the Cabrini Monash University Department of Surgery to continue and expand its work towards an exciting research and clinical tool.

About the project

A joint research collaboration between the Cabrini Monash University Department of Surgery led by Associate Professor McMurrick (Fröhlich West Chair of Surgery), Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer and the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute with Associate Professor Helen Abud and her team, has developed an exciting research program with potential to create personalised medicine. That is, patients can be spared the gruelling trial and error approach to treatment, thereby taking some of the stress and anxiety out of bowel cancer treatment.

Following a diagnosis of bowel cancer, small amounts of both normal and cancerous tissue are taken from the colon of bowel cancer patients undergoing treatment at Cabrini. This tissue is then grown into living, three-dimensional tumours, or organoids, that mimic the properties and traits of the tissue from which they are taken. The aim is the develop organoids as a quick and cost-effective way to study tumour biology, and determine the best treatment for an individual’s cancer. Organoids are of great interest because it means that clinicians and scientists can now study our biology in action outside a patient’s body.

Currently the research team has grown 74 organoids towards development of a living biobank of 100. The team has started banking of metastatic tumours, known as secondary tumours, with progress towards the study of how different tumours grow and what can be done to prevent their spread. This has been developed through Cabrini, which is a major treatment centre for bowel cancer in Victoria, supported by a mature and well established patient follow-up clinical database.

About the Cabrini Monash University Department of Surgery – Fröhlich West Chair of Surgery

Established in 1998, the Chair of Surgery at Cabrini is a joint venture between the Cabrini Institute and Monash University. It was the first of its kind in the Victorian private medical sector and one of the first in Australia. The chair was endowed as the Fröhlich West Chair of Surgery in 2004.

About Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer

Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer (LBBC) is a health promotion initiative of Cabrini under the leadership of the Cabrini Monash University Department of Surgery. It is designed to lower deaths related to bowel cancer – also known as colorectal cancer – via public awareness, research and medical advances. Its goals are to: demystify bowel cancer and increase awareness of bowel cancer as a major public health issue, encourage every Australian 50 and over to screen regularly for bowel cancer, and promote and support ongoing bowel cancer education and clinical research focusing on prevention, early detection and treatment of bowel cancer. Through LBBC, which was established in 2001, Cabrini remains committed to ongoing bowel cancer research and raising awareness of the importance of bowel screening in order to achieve better health outcomes for our community.

About Cabrini

Cabrini is a Catholic, private, not-for-profit provider of health and health-related services sponsored by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This order was founded by Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917) who was canonised Universal Patron Saint of Immigrants in 1946. Founded in 1948, Cabrini now has approximately 4500 staff, 200 volunteers and 1300 accredited medical specialists. Our services span aged care, cancer care, cardiac services, children’s care, emergency care, health promotion, home/community-based care, maternity services, palliative care, rehabilitation, research and education. Cabrini Technology provides information and healthcare technology services to Cabrini and other clients in the health, disability and aged-care sectors in Australasia. The Cabrini Foundation (established in 2002) oversees and guides all fundraising activities on behalf of Cabrini, helping to ensure we can continue to provide a wide range of vital healthcare services for our community. For more information visit

More information

Media information: Christine Elmer ph (03) 9508 3551 or 0459 811 693 or Jackie Meiers ph (03) 9508 3552 or 0419 009 146, Cabrini marketing and community relations department.