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April 30, 2024

The National Breast Cancer Foundation announces 19 new world-class research projects with an investment of $13.5 million

2024 NBCF-funded researchers

The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) today announces 19 world-class research projects receiving a combined investment of $13.5 million to help progress towards its vision of Zero Deaths from breast cancer.

This year’s research grants include research focused on understanding genetic drivers of breast cancer in young women, how technology can be used to improve breast cancer screening, and how breast cancer cells survive and spread informing better treatment options for some aggressive forms of breast cancer.

“NBCF’s focus on realising Zero Deaths from breast cancer is as important as ever. By supporting the efforts of Australia’s world-class breast cancer research sector, we are poised to be able to accelerate research towards our ambitious vision of ending deaths from breast cancer. These projects could help reduce the 3,200 lives lost each year as a direct result of a breast cancer diagnosis in Australia,”said Associate Professor Cleola Anderiesz, CEO of NBCF.

Each research project aligns with one or more of NBCF’s four Pink Horizon Research Strategy objectives: to better understand how to prevent breast cancer, detect it early; stop the progression and recurrence of breast cancer; and effectively treat hard-to-treat and metastatic breast cancers – research that will ultimately save lives.

The research grants are awarded based on merit to advance the most promising breast cancer research projects throughout Australia. This year, almost one-third of recipients are receiving NBCF funding for the first time and around half of NBCF-funded lead researchers are female.

“Research offers hope – hope for people diagnosed and living with breast cancer now and hope for the future,” explains Associate Professor Anderiesz. “The 19 NBCF-funded research projects announced today will support 45 researchers, investigators and laboratory staff, to help us continue to work towards a future with Zero Deaths from breast cancer.”

NBCF’s ability to support ground-breaking breast cancer research is only made possible through generous donations from the Australian community.

Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia and remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Australian women. This year alone, it is estimated that over 20,000 Australians will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and sadly, nine people will lose their lives to this disease every day.

This year NBCF celebrates its 30th anniversary. NBCF is proud to be the leading not-for-profit funder of breast cancer research in Australia. Since its inception, NBCF has invested $232 million into 642 world-class research projects and in this time, the death rate from breast cancer in Australia has reduced by over 40%.

Here are four of the 19 research projects NBCF is funding:

Professor Ian Campbell (University of Melbourne | Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre) – Identifying genetic risk factors and new treatments for young breast cancer patients – Early-onset breast cancers, occurring in young women less than 45 years old, account for about 7% of all new female breast cancer and 15% of breast cancer deaths. Prof Ian Campbell aims to discover novel genes linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in young women to improve risk management and uncover potential new therapeutic targets.


Dr Luke Marinovich (University of Sydney) – Advancing breast cancer screening with the use of cutting-edge technologies – Rapid developments in technology hold promise for increasing the benefits of breast cancer screening seen in Australia. Dr Luke Marinovich and colleagues will evaluate two new technologies that could transform breast cancer screening, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital breast tomosynthesis (three-dimensional imaging).


Associate Professor Joy Wolfram (University of Queensland) – Enhancing the body’s ability to recognize and eliminate triple negative breast cancer cells – Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive form of cancer most likely to spread beyond the breast (known as metastasis) and return after treatment. A/Prof Joy Wolfram will investigate how small molecular messages secreted by TNBC cells help these breast cancer cells avoid detection and destruction by the immune system allowing cancer cells to survive and spread to other organs in the body.


Associate Professor Philip Gregory (University of South Australia) – Uncovering new indicators and treatments for triple-negative breast cancer metastasis – Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive form of cancer most likely to spread beyond the breast (known as metastasis) and return after treatment. A/Prof Philip Gregory will investigate whether the levels of a molecule (ZCCHC24) can serve as a diagnostic and predictive indicator of the likelihood of TNBC to metastasise. Moreover, TNBC laboratory experimental models will be used to explore the mechanism by which ZCCHC24 reprograms TNBC cells to spread, potentially yielding insights into better treatment options for TNBCs.


Read about all 19 NBCF-funded projects.