The Brain Cancer Discovery Collaborative


In the Brain Cancer Discovery Collaborative (BCDC) Australia’s leading brain cancer researchers and doctors are working together to extend patients’ lives. Brain cancer is the most common and most deadly cancer in children, and adults with the most common type of brain cancer rarely live more than two years. There are about 1,500 new cases of brain cancer in Australia every year and more than 1,100 deaths. Brain cancer is not preventable by any known lifestyle change, and advances in treatment have been slow. In Australia, eighty per cent of patients die within five years of diagnosis, and this figure has not substantially changed since the early 1980s. In addition to shortening lives, brain cancer places the largest financial burden of any cancer on households and the community.

In March 2013, the BCDC successfully secured start-up funding for one year from the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation to enable Australia’s small community of brain cancer researchers and doctors to work together. To date the Foundation has committed $3.8 million in funding for the Collaborative. Our aim is to discover new drug candidates for treating patients with brain cancer. Our network now spans four Australian states and includes top scientists, medical oncologists and neurosurgeons.

With this collaborative effort, we are devoted to ensuring that promising new cancer therapies are rapidly tested in clinical trials, to improve the life expectancy of Australian patients with brain cancer.

cbc-logo2Members of the BCDC include:

Professor Terrance Johns (Director)
Hudson Institute of Medical Research (VIC)

Professor Andrew Boyd (Deputy Director, Clinical)
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute (QLD)

Associate Professor Kerrie McDonald (Deputy Director, Translational)
Lowy Cancer Research Centre (NSW)

Dr Nick Gottardo
Telethon Kids Institute (WA)

Professor Stephen Rose
The Australian e-Health Research Centre (QLD)

Associate Professor Geraldine O’Neill
The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (NSW)

Collaborative publications

Puttick S, Stringer BW, Day BW, Bruce ZC, Ensbey KS, Mardon K, Cowin GJ, Thurecht KJ, Whittaker AK, Fay M, Boyd A and Rose S. EphA2 as a diagnostic imaging target in glioblastoma: A PET/MRI study. Mol Imaging (in the press).

Rahman M, Reyner K, Deleyrolle L, Millette S, Azari H, Day BW, Stringer BW, Boyd AW, Johns TG, Blot V, Duggal R and Reynolds BA. Neurosphere and adherent culture conditions are equivalent for malignant glioma stem cell lines. Anat Cell Biol 48, 25–35 doi:10.5115/acb.2015.48.1.25 (2015).

Greenall SA, Donoghue JF, Gottardo NG, Johns TG and Adams TE. Glioma-specific domain IV EGFR cysteine mutations promote ligand-induced covalent receptor dimerization and display enhanced sensitivity to dacomitinib in vivo. Oncogene 34, 1658–1666 doi:10.1038/onc.2014.106 (2015).

Tivnan A, Zhao J, Johns TG, Day B, Stringer B, Boyd A, Tiwari S, Giles KM, Teo C and McDonald KL. The tumour suppressor microRNA, miR-124a, is regulated by epigenetic silencing and by the transcriptional factor, REST in glioblastoma. Tumour Biol 35, 1459–1465 doi:10.1007/s13277-013-1200-6 (2014).

Abuhusain HJ, Matin A, Qiao Q, Shen H, Kain N, Day BW, Stringer BW, Daniels B, Laaksonen MA, Teo C, McDonald KL and Don AS. A metabolic shift favoring sphingosine 1-phosphate at the expense of ceramide controls glioblastoma angiogenesis. J Biol Chem 288, 37355–37364 doi:10.1074/jbc.M113.494740 (2013).

Day BW, Stringer BW, Wilson J, Jeffree RL, Jamieson PR, Ensbey KS, Bruce ZC, Inglis P, Allan S, Winter C, Tollesson G, Campbell S, Lucas P, Findlay W, Kadrian D, Johnson D, Robertson T, Johns TG, Bartlett PF, Osborne GW and Boyd AW. Glioma surgical aspirate: a viable source of tumor tissue for experimental research. Cancers 5, 357–371 doi:10.3390/cancers5020357 (2013).


Our preferred clinical trial partner is the Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology

For further information, contact

Life begins for the BCDC. Doctor Charlie Teo (left), neurosurgeon and founder of the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, awards start-up funds to BCDC scientists and clinicians: from second left to right, Professor Terrance Johns, Professor Andrew Boyd and Associate Professor Kerrie McDonald.