2023 Translational Research Grants Funded

Find out more about the recipient of the 2023 Translational Program Grant.

We're proud to announce that Professor John Pimanda at the University of New South Wales is the recipient of the 2023 Translational Program Grant. 

The new five-year, $3.75 million Translational Program Grant will offer hope to Australians with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) who are unable to receive life-saving treatment due to old age or ill health. 

“We aim to identify and test new drug combinations in the laboratory which can then be offered to AML patients who are unfit for aggressive chemotherapy. Without treatment, older Australians will typically succumb to the disease within two to eight months from diagnosis.”

Professor John Pimanda

Read more about Professor Pimanda's clinical trial funding >

Translational cancer research aims to have a rapid impact by taking research findings from the laboratory and bringing them to people impacted by cancer.

Learn more about translational research in NSW >

2023 Grant Recipient and Project Detail


Professor John Pimanda

Grantee: Professor John Pimanda

Administering Institution: University of New South Wales

Grant Title: COSMOS-AML: Evaluation of Combined Sensitising and Hypomethylating Therapy Outcomes in AML

Funding (excl. GST): $3,750,000.00

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive blood cancer that largely affects older people. Over 1100 Australians are diagnosed with AML each year and well over half of these patients are unfit for standard intensive chemotherapy due to old age or other complicating factors. Hypomethylating agents (HMAs) are a group of drugs that are used alone or combined with other drugs to prolong life expectancy. However, treatment related adverse events with HMA drugs are common and their effect is temporary. All in all, there are no tolerable and effective treatment options for AML patients who are unfit for intensive chemotherapy.

We have developed laboratory techniques to identify drugs that make AML cells more responsive to the therapeutic effects of HMA drugs while sparing normal blood cells. Here, we will create a platform for first-in-human clinical trials to translate these discoveries into the clinic to treat AML patients who are unfit for intensive chemotherapy.

The first such combination is a new low-dose oral HMA and subasumstat, a drug that blocks protein SUMOylation- a modification that alters protein stability and function. Patient samples from the trial will be used for laboratory investigations to study how AML cells respond or develop resistance to these drugs.

These investigations will help identify new drug combinations for testing using our clinical trial platform. This program will address an unmet need and has the potential to bring relief to hundreds of patients in Australia and many more around the globe.