Leukaemia Foundation

Change Your Location:

Mr Donald Cameron

PhD Scholarship

Supported by Light the Night ‘Shooting Star’ 2013, Barb Baak

Researcher:         Mr Donald Cameron

Institute:                Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute
Project title:          Targeting the protein synthesis machinery
                        to selectively kill cancer cells
Disease focus:      Blood cancers
Annual Funding:   $40,000
Funding period:   2014-2017

Project summary

In collaboration with Senhwa Biosciences, the Growth Control Laboratory at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute in Melbourne has developed a potential new drug for treating blood cancers.

The drug, known as CX-5461, selectively targets cancer cells by interfering with the activity of the enzyme RNA Polymerase I (Pol I), which the cancer cells rely on to multiply. However, in preclinical studies, researchers from the Growth Control Laboratory found that some cancers become resistant to the drug over time.

PhD student, Donald Cameron, is investigating the genetic causes of resistance. He is profiling patients from an ongoing Australian Phase I clinical trial of CX-5461, as well asusing laboratory models of blood cancers, to identify the key genes conferring resistance.

“My aim is to develop the basis for a diagnostic test to predict patient sensitivity to CX-5461 as well as to understand the mechanisms underlying pre-existing or acquired resistance to this drug,” said Donald.

“My research should provide clinicians with more flexibility to personalise blood cancer treatment.”

This is the fifth project funded by the Leukaemia Foundation to progress the development of CX-5461 – a commitment worth $850,000. For more information, see the fact sheets for Dr Stela Álvarez Fernández (2014); Dr Kylee MacLachlan (2014);Associate Professor Ross Hannan (2012); and Dr Megan Bywater (2012).