‘Disruptive Innovation – Precision Medicine Meets Drug Discovery’ was one of 20 top research capabilities from the UNSW precinct selected for display at a Technology Showcase.
The one-day 2016 UNSW Innovation Summit and Showcase explores the cultural, economic and political factors that influence Australia’s innovation culture for global competitive advantage. Speakers represent a who’s who of innovation leadership in government, academia and business.
Our Showcase display gives global industry and government leaders a glimpse of our molecular profiling and drug testing platforms and the chance to talk to our researchers. Interactive videos will demonstrate drug discovery and precision medicine technologies and show how they support research and diagnostics into tailored treatments for the most aggressive children’s cancers.
The central theme of our display is the Zero Childhood Cancer personalised medicine program led by Children’s Cancer Institute and Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick. This visionary program is in pilot study phase and will be rolled out nationally in a clinical trial next year.
Zero Childhood Cancer draws on the capabilities of the ACRF Drug Discovery Centre at Children’s Cancer Institute. The Centre will have an increasingly important role carrying out in vitro drug sensitivity testing for the new program as it ramps up to a clinical trial. Managed by Dr Greg Arndt, the Drug Discovery Centre also offers a service to the medical research community and biotech industry for identifying new drugs.
Greg says he looks forward to showing delegates how advanced the Centre is in terms of expertise and infrastructure, and he welcomes the opportunity to discuss future collaborations. Sophisticated new instruments and software have been progressively added since the Drug Discovery Centre first opened its doors 8 years ago thanks to a grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF). It remains one of only 2 high throughput drug screening centres in Australia, able to screen thousands of compounds in weeks instead of a year by manual methods.
“Representatives from pharma or biotech companies will be impressed by the infrastructure and know-how we have on hand.
Time is money when it comes to drug discovery. We significantly speed up small molecule screening and drug development.” he said.
Infrastructure and expertise
Key technologies in the Drug Discovery Centre include integrated liquid-handling robotic systems, fully automated high-content imaging and high capacity microtitre plate incubators.
Chemical compound libraries available include a library of 160,000 compounds for novel drug discovery, FDA-approved and known drug libraries, and boutique libraries such as kinase inhibitors and epigenetic modulators. All are stored in a dedicated, state-of-the-art facility.
The Centre, with its team of 8 staff, collaborates with Australian and overseas universities and research institutes, and is a key partner within CTx, the Cancer Therapeutics CRC. It provides the core drug screening facilities for adult and childhood drug discovery projects within the Cancer Therapeutics CRC pipeline and the core expertise for the establishment of an in vitro drug sensitivity testing platform for the Zero Childhood Cancer program. This innovative program was also discussed this week at the 5th Annual NHMRC Symposium on Research Translation in Melbourne by Personalised Medicine Manager, Vanesa Tyrrell.