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New Center Setup to Develop Early Diagnosis and Tailored Treatment of Disease

Early diagnosis and tailored treatment of disease are the potential outcomes a new centre to be formed in The University of Queensland's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.

Dr Matt Trau

The new Centre was announced in Seattle at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre by the Honourable Stephen Robertson, Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Trade.

AIBN Director Professor Peter Gray said the Centre for Biomarker Research and Development would combine AIBN's innovative nanotechnology researchers with leaders in the fields of medicine and molecular biology to focus on discovery, validation and utilisation of molecular based biomarkers in medicine.

“The Centre will capitalise on momentum generated by the research and commercialisation activities of the AIBN's Professor Matt Trau,” he said.

“Over the last 18 months, Matt has attracted over $AUD12 million in competitive research grants involving many aspects of biomarker research and development.

“He is the lead investigator on an $AUD4 million Queensland government National and International Research Partnership grant in which he collaborates with teams from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, the University of Washington and the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, as well as an $AUD5 million grant from the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), which is the largest grant awarded by the NBCF to date.

“In addition, Matt has established close links with international leaders in this area, which include 2001 Nobel Laureate for physiology or medicine, Dr Lee Hartwell.

“On the strength of his accomplishments in this area, Professor Matt Trau is a natural choice to lead the Centre for Biomarker Research and Development."

According to Professor Trau, biomarkers are molecules specifically associated with particular diseases that, when present in the body, may indicate the onset and status of the disease.

“They have great potential in disease management and it is anticipated that doctors will use biomarkers to monitor and treat diseases, such as cancer at their earliest stages when they are more manageable and outcomes significantly more favourable," Professor Trau said.

“Early diagnosis and treatment could lead to a cure at a fraction of the cost of current treatments for late stage disease.

“In addition to our links with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, we have relationships with the International Biomarker Consortium, the Dana Farber Cancer Research Centre at Harvard and the Institute for Cancer Research in the UK.

“The goals of the Centre involve world class, multidisciplinary research in the areas of technology development, biomarker discovery and clinical development and application.”

Professor Trau and his team will act as the initial nucleus of the Centre for Biomarker Research and Development and will seek to further integrate other national and international research in this area.

The Centre will benefit from the AIBN's fully integrated research environment which includes unparalleled research and development infrastructure, and operates at the intersection of the bio and nanotechnologies to alleviate many current human health and environmental problems.

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