For 20 years, the Centre for Cancer Research has been working towards a world in which cancer occurs much less often and is always successfully treated.

The central aim of our research is to understand the molecular and cellular basis of cancer and how this manifests in people, guided by the problems people experience.

Our senior researchers, who have trained in the best international laboratories and hospitals, have always worked hand in hand with clinicians treating cancer. They aim to study the data and tissues of cancer patients on a large scale, and use or develop laboratory models that mimic cancer in people as closely as possible.  This approach means that even when our research has addressed the most basic biological questions, it has been informed by the “real world” of cancer care. This is the essence of cancer research translation.

Diseases we research

  • Breast cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Leukaemia
  • Gynaecological cancers

Our research themes include:

Our research teams have come together around common cancer types, such as breast cancer, melanoma, leukaemia and ovarian cancer, and are pioneers in both basic and translational cancer research.

We discover genes that affect cancer risk, in families and in the community more broadly, help to drive the great current wave of cancer genomics, and explain the fundamental processes that make cancer cells what they are – whether hormone responses, the transport of cancer-controlling proteins, cell signalling and growth, or the responses of the immune system to cancer and leukaemia.

We have been very productive, with more than 530 research articles published in the last five years. Our work has had broad impact, ranging from the banning of commercial solaria because of their role in melanoma in young adults, to the discovery of key gene drivers of cancer risk and how they might be measured and managed in the clinic, to trials of new-generation molecular targeted therapies and immune treatments in melanoma, to explaining the reasons why ovarian cancer treatment may fail.

The cancer problem is bigger and more diverse than any one team can handle. Our work is usually conducted in partnership with like-minded researchers across the country and internationally, and we have often shown leadership in these initiatives. For example, our researchers have leading roles in the Australian Breast Cancer Tissue Bank, the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study, the kConFab and GenoMEL consortia, and genome projects of the International Cancer Genome Consortium.

Among key local partnerships, our researchers help lead the Sydney West Translational Cancer Research Centre of the Westmead Research Hub, the University of Sydney Cancer Research Network, and the multi-centre research and clinical program of the Melanoma Institute Australia.



Research Teams