Research Centre

Funded Research

Since its formation in May 2014 the Mark Hughes Foundation has funded the following initiatives:

Brain Cancer Bio Bank Funding

MHF is proud to announce the funding of the Mark Hughes Foundation Brain Cancer Biobank.

A state of the art brain cancer biobank incorporated into the existing structure of Hunter Cancer Biobank (HCB), located at HMRI, to provide open access to a broad range of quality brain cancer tissues and related blood samples.  Researchers will be able to link specimens and clinical data allowing researchers to remotely analyse tissues.

To study individual patient’s cancers, they must be carefully collected at the time of surgery.  Donating cancer samples at the time of surgery is a proactive and valuable act that every patient can make to improve brain cancer research.  This is called ‘biobanking’.  A Biobank is a collection of human tissues with related clinical data.

The Hunter Cancer Biobank (HCB) located at HMRI, was established in 2012 to meet the growing needs of local cancer research and provide our local highly respected researchers with high quality tissues, free of charge, allowing them to conduct research into all types of cancers.  Only excess tissue that is not required for a patient’s diagnosis and treatment is stored in the HCB; this tissue would otherwise be discarded.  HCB currently has over 3300 tumour samples and with the help of MHF they hope to bank cancer and blood samples from every consenting patient to build a comprehensive brain cancer Biobank.

Rapid scientific advances now allow detection of tiny traces of patient’s cancers within blood.  We will maximise biobanking for brain cancer patients by also requesting consent to bank patients’ blood samples at relevant times during their cancer surgery and treatment; E.g. before, during and after surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatments and in follow-up.

The establishment of the Mark Hughes Foundation Brain Cancer Biobank will allow researchers in the Hunter New England region, Sydney, New South Wales and Australia to address a multitude of questions related to brain cancer, especially questions that could not be addressed without such a valuable research resource.

Thank you to each person and business who has supported MHF and helped us bring this state-of-the-art cancer research resource to the Hunter New England Area. 

In addition, we are delighted to announce that John Hunter Hospital has appointed the region’s first Care Coordination Nurse for people with brain cancer under a three-year funding arrangement with the Mark Hughes Foundation (MHF) to provide a vital link between health staff, patients and medical researchers.

Nurse Jane Morison, a neurosurgical case manager at John Hunter Hospital, will work in the new role for six months while a full-time applicant is recruited. She will provide support to people receiving care at the John Hunter and Calvary Mater Newcastle hospitals. This is a momentous achievement for the Mark Hughes Foundation! The Biobank and the Care Coordinator Nurse are both exciting achievements the MHF have made in their first two years! 

We have big plans for the future to continue funding research, studies and clinical trials. Help us achieve the rest by your continued support and donations.

Mark Hughes Foundation Brain Cancer Biobank

"The Virtuous Circle: A Living Brain Cancer Biobank"

Researchers: Professor Rodney Scott, Dr Marjorie Walker

The Hunter Cancer Biobank (HCB), located at HMRI, was established in 2012 to meet the growing needs of local cancer research, and provides our local highly respected researchers with high quality tissues, free of charge, allowing them to conduct state of the art research into all types of cancer. The HCB collects a range of tumours from adult patients having cancer-related surgery in the Hunter New England region. Only excess tissue (that is not required for a patient’s diagnosis and treatment) is stored in the HCB; this tissue would otherwise be discarded. The HCB currently has over 3300 tumour samples.

Thanks to the establishment of the Mark Hughes Foundation now banks cancer and blood samples from every consenting patient and has built a comprehensive brain cancer Biobank.

Update:
The first whole brain donation was received late in the year to the Bio-bank.

Mark Hughes Foundation Brain Cancer Care Co-ordinator

Hunter New England Local Health District

This project most importantly assists patients and their families with support through diagnosis, treatment, access to clinical trials, follow-up on discharge and end of life care. Jane Morrison was initially seconded to this role while recruitment took place.

Update:

Sandy Nixon took on this role during 2016.

EphA2 as a circulating biomarker for GBM progression - a pilot study

Researchers: Dr. Janette Sakoff

This is a pilot study to test whether serum levels of EphA2 can predict disease progression in GBM patients. We await news on this projects progression soon.