Research Institute


Adelaide | Australia

Theme Overview

The overarching goal of the Cancer Theme is to foster excellence to the full spectrum of cancer-related research, from fundamental genomic discovery, developmental biology, translational research and the development of innovative clinical trials. A core of the Cancer Theme is the study of haematologic malignancies, which are a leading cause of childhood cancer morbidity and mortality, and commonly lethal disorders in adults.

Professor Tim Hughes, Cancer Theme Leader and Professor Deb White, Deputy Theme Leader and Director of Cancer Research are international experts in the biology and treatment of Leukaemia.


Student Opportunities

Professor Tim Hughes leads the Cancer Theme at SAHMRI, which is focused on translating basic scientific discovery into tomorrow’s cures. The Cancer Theme conducts research in the areas of fundamental genomic discovery, developmental biology, translational research and innovative clinical trial development. The Cancer Theme encompasses several excellent research groups focusing on a variety of areas lead by principal investigators from SAHMRI, the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia.

Professor Deb White heads the Leukaemia Research Group. This team is involved in research and clinical trials of haematological malignancies such as chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). ALL is a leading cause of childhood cancer morbidity and mortality, and commonly lethal disorders in adults.

The Prostate Cancer team of A/Professor Lisa Butler focuses their research on improving the clinical management of prostate cancer. This is achieved through novel therapeutic approaches with the development of biomarkers of treatment response and resistance, leading to more accurate and non-invasive markers of the disease.

Professor Stan Gronthos is head of the Mesenchymal Stem Cell Research Group. This group’s research is focused on investigating the origin and biological properties of different post-natal stem cell populations that give rise to supportive connective tissue such as myelosupportive stroma, adipose tissue, smooth muscle, bone, cartilage, ligament, cementum and dentin.

The Myeloma Research Group, lead by Professor Andrew Zannettino, studies the molecular and cellular basis for the development of the bone marrow cancer, multiple myeloma. Their research has identified a number of biomarkers of high-risk disease and a number of novel therapeutic targets, which will be clinically evaluated in the near future. In addition, Professor Andrew Zannettino & Professor Stan Gronthos will continue their world-class collaborative research into the mechanisms of myeloma cancer development and the biology and clinical application of stem cells.

Dr Daniel Worthley leads The Gastrointestinal Cancer Biology Group. This research team focuses on translating basic scientific discoveries into new therapies for human disease, particularly gastrointestinal cancer & colorectal cancer. The group studies stem cells within and surrounding the cancer and how these cells work together to drive cancer growth and spread.

The Immunotherapy and Graft-versus-leukaemia (GVL) Research Group is lead by Dr Agnes Yong. The group investigates the mechanisms of inherent immunogenicity of haematological malignancies, and immune responses against leukaemia. This includes studies of T cell responses against tumour-associated antigens in patients with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML), multiple myeloma (MM) and Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), and in patients who have received allogeneic stem cell transplantation. The research program is furthering cellular and immunotherapy for leukaemia treatment, including development of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy for myeloid leukaemia.

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