Firefighters Charity Fund supports BRCA1 research

By Rob Clancy, staff writer

Firefighters Charity Fund support BRCA1 research at Hudson Institute.
Associate Professor Michael Gantieir and PhD researcher Alexandra McAllan with the group from Fire Rescue Victoria with novelty cheque representing their donation.

On 16 March we were delighted to welcome a group from Fire Rescue Victoria, who are generously supporting BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation research via the Firefighters Charity Fund. 

Firefighters Charity Fund support BRCA1 research at Hudson Institute.

The group from the Policy and Planning Department visited the Nucleic Acids and Innate Immunity Laboratory run by Associate Professor Michael Gantier and the Medical Genomics Facility run by Dr Trevor Wilson PhD, where they were able to see the technology and science behind the BRCA1 research project they are supporting.

Funds from this donation are being put towards the cost of performing a sequencing experiment of gene samples (a small RNA sequence of samples with BRCA1 mutations), with the aim of defining novel biomarkers linking uncharacterised mutations with breast cancer development and progression. This will support the research of PhD student Alexandra McAllan who is supervised by Associate Professor Michael Gantier. 

“Previously, our laboratory discovered that molecular variations exist within microRNAs, which when analysed markedly increase their accuracy in disease prognosis. This donation will allow for further research into microRNAs and BRCA1 mutations more specifically.”

BRCA1 research helping women

As Dave Harris, Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer, reflected, “We are excited that this donation will assist in Alex’s research, and feel that any work that will reduce the likelihood of BRCA1 cancer-related illness is worth supporting.”

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are key tumour suppressor genes that are normally expressed in breast or ovarian tissue, where they work to repair DNA damage and prevent tumours from forming. In women with a mutation in the BRCA1 gene, this DNA damage cannot be repaired, meaning they are at a much greater risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

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