Research Spotlight - Arto Hardy Family Biomedical Innovation Hub | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

The Arto Hardy Family

Biomedical Innovation Hub

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The Arto Hardy Family Biomedical Innovation Hub at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is a transformational research laboratory that bridges medical science, biology, engineering, and industry. With the unique advantage of being located within a cancer hospital, our scientists work directly with our clinical teams to translate new discoveries into more effective treatments for cancer patients.

 

Led by a team of exceptional scientists and engineers, The Arto Hardy Family Biomedical Innovation Hub enables Chris O’Brien Lifehouse to fast-track cutting edge research across multiple cancer types.

 

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse thanks the Arto Hardy family for their generous donation which has made this possible.

Meet our research leads

The Arto Hardy Family Biomedical Innovation Hub enhances how research is embedded within the multidisciplinary teams at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. Meet Arto Hardy Family Chair in Biomedical Innovation, Professor Jeremy Crook, and Senior Research Scientist, Dr Eva Tomaskovic-Crook, in the video below.

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Research milestones

November 2021: 

We partnered with RPA Hospital Institute of Academic Surgery and the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Integrated Prosthetics & Reconstruction team (lead by Director of Head and Neck Cancer Research and Lang Walker Family Foundation Chair in Head and Neck Cancer Reconstructive Surgery, Professor Jonathan Clark AM), in a world-first research collaboration – combining 3D- printing with advanced materials and technologies for bioactivation. This means that we 3D-print a scaffold using a high-performance thermoplastic (called PEK or poly-ether-ketone) and then apply our unique, proprietary surface treatment called Plasma Ion Immersion Implantation to encourage the growth of bone cells on the 3D-printed scaffold. We expect this research will open up new possibilities for bone repair and regeneration following cancer surgery.

 

January 2022: 

We partnered with Zeta Therapeutics to merge their expertise in nanotechnology with the Arto Hardy Family Biomedical Innovation Hub’s expertise in tissue modelling to develop new and personalised treatments for ovarian cancer.

 

April 2022: 

We took a significant step in our work to develop 3D tumour tissue models by engineering living human brain organoids containing blood vessel-like structures. The aim is to create replicas of a patient’s healthy brain tissue with glioblastoma tumour in the laboratory so that we may better understand tumour biology and drug screening. Forming networks of capillaries and blood vessels within the tissue is crucial because it allows the organoids and tumours to grow and behave more like the tissues within a patient’s body.

 

June 2022:

We began a pre-clinical trial, working with Director of Head and Neck Cancer Research, Professor Jonathan Clark AM, in which we use stem cells taken from adipose tissue to create a ‘bio ink’ that we 3D-print to form a natural bone-like prosthetic. These prostheses are used to reconstruct areas where bone has been removed in cancer surgery.

 

July 2022: 

We finalised the implementation of a new Intellectual Property (IP) policy and framework at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. This was an important step to ensure discoveries made and products developed across the hospital and within our collaborations are protected, and that they are fast tracked through clinical trials and to the clinic to benefit patients. It is also important to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Arto Hardy Family Biomedical Innovation Hub.

Novel biomedical research can transform cancer treatment

In 2022, the Arto Hardy Family Biomedical Innovation Hub was awarded a Medical Research Grant from the Ian Potter Foundation.

This grant supported the purchase of an important piece of technology within the Arto Hardy Family Biomedical Innovation Hub and to our work in tumour modelling and diagnostics: a BIORAD QX200 Automated Droplet Digital Polymerase Chain Reaction System.

The BIORAD QX200 enables us to compare and understand normal, disease and treatment-related nucleic acid molecules in tissue when treating patients with cancer. It creates tens of thousands of data points from a single tissue sample. This helps to more accurately understand mutation, gene expression and rare sequences in DNA, which will translate into more informed tissue reconstruction for regenerative medicine therapy.

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More research grants awarded in 2022:

  • SurFebruary Cancer Research Fund grant – 3D-bioprinting with glioblastoma ‘ink’: engineering patient-specific brain tumours for high throughput drug screening and individualised therapy, $96,600.
  • SurFebruary Cancer Research Fund grant – Development of an ex vivo perfusion bio-reactor to maintain periosteum for bone reconstruction, $50,000
  • Sydney Cancer Institute Seed Grant Scheme – Point-of-care development of personalised 3D-printed boli for radiotherapy patient, $25,000.
  • ANZHNCS Research Foundation grant (Reconstructive Surgery Fund) – Bio-printed adipose derived stem cells for engineering vascularized bone tissue within an in vivo bio-reactor, $10,000.

Our mission is to improve the lives of people with cancer.

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