The Perkins

Together we can save lives.

Since its inception in 1998, the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research has made significant discoveries into the diseases that plague our families, in particular heart disease, diabetes and cancer. With over 200 researchers, scientists and doctors housed in two state-of-the-art research facilities, the Perkins creates a culture of innovation and collaboration. Teams dedicated to finding answers to defeat women’s cancers are funded from the Walk for Women’s Cancer each year.

  • 1 in 7 Australian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • 2 in 3 Australian women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will not survive.

Women’s Cancer Research at the Perkins

Associate Professor Pilar Blancafort and her laboratory investigate the development of innovative new treatments for the cancers that don’t respond to conventional medicines, such as triple negative breast cancer and serious ovarian cancer. Major projects include nanoparticles to deliver anti-cancer drugs directly to the tumour site and generating a gene modifier to revert cancer cells back to normal functioning cells.

Dr Brendan Kennedy and his team of biomedical engineers at the Perkins are developing cutting-edge tools to assist surgeons during cancer surgery. These include a specialist in-theatre microscope, a handheld device to search for hard to detect cancer cells during surgery and the world’s first 3D printed finger-mounted optical imaging probe. Currently, one in four women undergoing surgery to remove breast cancer, must return to have further potentially cancerous tissue removed. The probe can measure tissue stiffness at a microscopic level and will allow breast surgeons to detect tumour cells that are too small to see or feel, improving outcomes for women during these challenging surgeries.