Translational scheme unites oncologist and researcher

Translational scheme unites oncologist and researcher

Photo of Dr Bhavna Padhye

Improving outcomes and quality of life of children living with cancer is what drives the crucial work of Dr Bhavna Padhye and Dr Rebecca Poulos.

Unified by this objective, Dr Padhye and Dr Poulos have brought their expertise together for a translational project, working to embed proteomic technology into the cancer clinic.

Dr Padhye is a paediatric oncologist at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW), while Dr Poulos works as a computational biologist at the Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI). They have received a joint Translational Partners Fellowship from the Sydney Cancer Partners to support their proteomics project.

The Translational Partners Fellowship is a unique scheme to bring a clinician and researcher together to develop a cancer research group or initiative that spans from the laboratory to the clinic. Sydney Cancer Partners has awarded two fellowships, each of which is worth up to $300,000 per year over three years.

Dr Padhye was honoured and excited to receive the grant, saying it was an effective scheme to translate research into clinical practice early.

It is very exciting and a unique opportunity that will help us to work closely together to improve the outcome for paediatric cancer patients,” Dr Padhye said.

“I feel great that I am able to do this work and it has strong potential.”

Dr Padhye and Dr Poulos will use proteomics, a detailed study of cancer proteins, to identify better prognostic and predictive biomarkers for neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that usually affects children under five years old.

Often the cancer begins in the tissue of the adrenal glands and spreads through the blood, growing in other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, bones, liver, and lungs.

“We will use mass spectrometry (MS) to first focus on neuroblastoma to address an area of unmet clinical need by defining signatures that improve prediction of treatment response, and then apply these methods to other paediatric cancer types with poor outcomes,” the research team said.

Our goal will be to establish a real-time platform at CMRI for MS-based proteomics of paediatric cancer patients.”

Director of Sydney Cancer Partners, Professor Anna DeFazio AM, said it is hoped enduring collaborative partnerships will be fostered through the unique scheme.

“The format of these fellowships is based on our experience that impactful translational outcomes can be generated by clinicians and researchers working closely together to solve a common problem,” Prof DeFazio said.

“It demonstrates our commitment to nurturing the next generation of research and clinical leaders, enabling them to contribute to improving outcomes for cancer patients in NSW.”