Cancer Cell Biology programme leads Professor Mike Berridge (left) and Dr Melanie McConnell (right)

Scope 65 - Global effort in the fight against cancer

04 May 2018, Cancer

Breakthroughs don’t happen in isolation. Typically, they are the steady accumulation of advancements made through scientific collaboration and networking, often spanning the globe.

Both national and international collaborations are vital to nding cures for disease. Collaboration gives researchers greater access to knowledge, insight and tools, broadening their perspectives and fast tracking discovery.

The Malaghan Institute’s cancer gene transfer project, under the umbrella of Professor Mike Berridge’s Cancer Cell Biology programme, is one such example. From a Federation of European Biochemical Societies-sponsored mitochondrial meeting in Prague in 2009, the seed was planted in the mind of meeting convenor Professor Jiri Neuzil, that germinated into a collaborative agreement following an Australasian meeting in Akaroa a year later.

It took another four years for the Malaghan Institute to gather bulletproof evidence for how healthy mitochondria are transferred to cancer cells with damaged mitochondrial DNA, which contributes to their survival, publishing the results in the leading scientific journal, Cell Metabolism. Prof Neuzil’s laboratories at Australia’s Griffith University and at the Czech Institute of Biotechnology were key to the initial publication success that has now amassed almost 200 citations.

Since 2015, this collaboration has only grown, with seven publications and two manuscripts under revision. The work has involved contributions from researchers in other laboratories in Australia, Czech Republic, Korea, Portugal, USA, Germany, Sweden, India, France, the Netherlands, and of course, New Zealand. A truly global effort in the fight against cancer.