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Finding better ways to predict cancer

The Australian Cancer Risk Study, a national collaborative program led by Dr Julia Steinberg and Professor Anne Cust at the Daffodil Centre, aims to unlock the power of genetics to help detect cancers earlier and prevent cancer deaths.

The team are building tools that bring together information on people’s genes, lifestyles, and health, to better predict who is most at risk of cancer. The study also investigates how these tools could help to improve early detection of cancers by tailoring support to people’s cancer risk.

Now recruiting study participants

The team are now inviting over 20,000 participants of the 45 and Up Study to contribute to this vital research by providing a sample of their saliva (spit), which will be used for a ‘read-out’ of their genetic information. The 45 and Up Study is a cohort study of NSW residents who have already generously provided detailed information on their health. The genetic information generated for the Australian Cancer Risk Study will provide an important piece of the puzzle on cancer risk that is currently missing.

Contributing to the study is free and can be done easily from home – all it takes is about half a teaspoon of saliva. The sample and genetic information will be stored safely and assigned a random number only, so they cannot be directly identified as coming from a particular person.

“The help of 45 and Up Study participants will be crucial to save the lives of Australians in the future. We are very grateful to the hundreds of participants who have already agreed to contribute. And we hope that those invited over the next weeks will also agree to help us find new ways to predict and prevent cancer.”
Dr Julia Steinberg

This research has been funded by a $3m grant from the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund and approved by the NSW Population and Health Services Research Ethics Committee.

How it works

About the team

The Australian Cancer Risk Study team includes world-leading researchers in genomics, epidemiology, and public health, as well as community representatives and policy-makers.

In particular, research related to the 45 and Up Study is done collaboratively with multiple partners, including:

The Sax Institute team, who manage the 45 and Up Study.

Professor Nick Martin and his team at the QIMR Berghofer Institute.
Prof. Martin is an international leader in genetics and a Fellow of the Australian Academies of Science, Social Science, and Health and Medical Science. He is leading multiple successful studies that securely collect DNA samples from many thousands of Australians.

Professor Daniel MacArthur’s team at the Centre for Population Genomics (CPG) at the Garvan Institute and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.
Professor MacArthur and the CPG bring expertise in the generation, quality control, and analysis of large-scale genomic data sets from diverse populations, and their use to build more representative resources of genetic variation from Australian communities.





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