Exactly how your impact helps people with neglected cancers

The GI Cancer Institute awards the Innovation Fund each year to an original scientific research project. This is made possible thanks to your generous support of the Gutsy Challenge, as well as contributions from the Spencer Gibson Foundation and the His Honour Alan Bishop Fund. In 2019, the Innovation Fund grant of $200,000 was awarded to Professor Peter Gibbs, for his study offering personalised medicine to colorectal cancer patients.

Only one Innovation Fund grant of $200,000 will be awarded in 2020. The decision to limit grants this year has been made based on the considerable pressures many clinicians are under due to COVID19 – they are currently dedicated to being on the front line of care, delivering treatments to cancer patients through these trying times.

The 2020 grant will continue to enable researchers like Professor Gibbs and the previous recipients of Innovation Fund grants to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and find better treatments for GI cancer patients.


Professor Gibbs’ study is called FORECAST-1,  ‘An organoid sensitivity testing driven umbrella study for patients with refractory metastatic colorectal cancer.’ It will enrol 30 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who have exhausted all other treatment options. Fresh biopsies of their cancers will be obtained and cultured in the laboratory to establish patient derived tumour organoids (PDTOs). A variety of well-established and new therapies will be tested on the organoids, in order to find any effective treatments that can be offered. The best treatment for each patient will then be individually allocated according to the results of these analyses.

“I am thrilled that we have received the Innovation Fund grant to conduct such an important study,” says Professor Gibbs. “This grant will enable us to test a new development in personalised bowel cancer treatment that could give hope to people who have no other options.”

Read more about the Innovation Fund.