Australian Cancer Research Foundation
Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) is an Australian-based not-for-profit organisation which awards grants to cancer research organisations, specifically for high-end equipment purchases and infrastructure development.
The Foundation awards grants between $1.5m and $10m, based on scientific excellence. Since 1987, $60m has been awarded with $46m awarded since 2004.
Grants have been awarded across all states as well as the ACT, for research into all cancers, including Prevention, Treatment & Diagnosis.
The ACRF receives no government funding and relies solely on private donations. Unusual among not-for-profit organisations, it is able to legitimately claim that all monies received are directed towards its key objective with every dollar of every donation going to cancer research.
In 2009, after receiving $30 million in grant applications, ACRF awarded $6.6 million in new funding for two breakthrough projects.
$3.5 million was awarded to the Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB), South Australian Pathology and the University of Adelaide for equipment to establish a new Cancer Genomics Facility, with the aim to obtain insights into genetic modifications leading to better cancer treatment. SA Pathology offers Tissue Bank Collection and Liquid Nitrogen Facility, regarded as the best in Australia.
$3.1 million was awarded to the Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) & University of Newcastle, Australia in NSW to build and equip two dedicated laboratories for the world’s first Chemical Proteomics Centre for Kinomics. This is a new discipline, merging genomics (genes) and proteomics (proteins) implicated in certain human cancers and is a priority area for new drug targets. Kinomics is able to rapidly, accurately and systematically explore and classify therapeutically-relevant protein kinase targets for drug discovery.
A Board of Trustees, composed of some of Australia’s most prominent and influential business people, administers the organisation. The current chairman is Mr Tom Dery, Worldwide Chairman of M&C Saatchi. Lady (Sonia) McMahon was a founding board member until her passing in 2010.
The Medical Research Advisory Committee (MRAC) oversees all grant applications and designates which research institutes will receive funding. They can also make recommendations to the Board. Membership of the MRAC is authorised by the Department of Health and Ageing with each appointment being three years. The current chairman is Professor Ian Frazer, co-inventor of the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil.
The ACRF was established by businessman and philanthropist Sir Peter Abeles in 1984. He served as its founding chairman.
The Foundation’s first grant was awarded in 1987, with $1 million going to the Centre for Immunology at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney.