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November 2021

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Shom Goel

Funds for cancer research

A physician scientist whose research focuses on an important but overlooked problem in cancer biology has been awarded one of three $8 million Snow Fellowships.

The fellowships are awarded to young, outstanding biomedical research leaders.

Dr Shom Goel is based at both the University of Melbourne and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and has an ambitious research plan to study therapy-induced senescence.

His work as a breast cancer specialist has given him insight into where treatments are currently failing.

‘Unfortunately, some cancer cells don’t die in response to common treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy,’ Dr Goel said.

‘Rather, they enter a state known as senescence and these senescent cells can fuel a cancer’s growth over time, ultimately threatening a patient’s life.’

Dr Goel and his team will build a suite of cutting-edge laboratory models and screening tools that take time to create and which conventional funding mechanisms are not designed to support.

The Snow Fellowship funding supports researchers as they set up and operate a research laboratory and provides salaries for the Snow Fellow and post-doctoral researchers, PhD student scholarship top-ups, technical and laboratory management support, project funds and leadership development.

‘The fellowship will also attract a diverse, world-class team to my lab and, within eight years, I am confident we will have discovered some of the first ‘senotherapies’ – medicines that specifically target senescent cells.

‘We will also be very well positioned to drive the clinical development of those therapies here in Australia,’ Dr Goel said.