Leaders in Science

Leading Edge Cancer Science

Research into the causes and treatment of cancer is a world-wide challenge, undertaken in leading facilities across the globe, and any advances do not occur overnight. Most scientific breakthroughs have years and often many decades of theory and experiment behind them.
In many areas of medical science, such as cancer, Australia is a world leader. For these advances, work by some of Australia’s and the world’s brightest minds relies on our ability to fund groundbreaking research.

It’s down to each of us and your donation and support for our work is critical for future advances. 

Meet the Researchers

Professor Yong Li

Professor Li’s current research aims to investigate

  • Novel biomarkers as liquid biopsy for early cancer diagnosis, new therapies and personalised medicine;
  • The mechanisms of cancer metastasis and chemo-radio-resistance and cancer stem cells changes as cancer progresses
  • The use of targeted cancer therapy, immunotherapy or combination therapies to treat metastatic and therapeutic resistant prostate and breast cancers.

Background: Prof. Li is Professor (Conjoint) School of Clinical Medicine, (UNSW), Principal Scientific Officer at St George Hospital (SESLHD) and Head of Cancer Research at St George Cancer Centre. His expertise is in cancer biomarker discovery, cancer biology, radiation biology, targeted cancer therapy and cancer metastasis. Prof. Li has over 150 publications in peer-reviewed journals since 2000. These include: Journal of Biological Chemistry, Blood, Clinical Cancer Research, Theranostics, Advanced Science and Molecular Cancer. Professor Li has attracted support from sources including NHMRC, ARC, US Department Defence, Cancer Institute NSW and Prostate and Breast Cancer Foundation.

Mahmoud Assem-Hamed

Work by Mahmoud focuses on the role of “extracellular vesicles” (EV) in personalised medicine for prostate cancer. An EV-based biopsy is less-invasive than surgery and allows specialists to build a whole picture of tumour information by doing a simple blood test. The current study aims to identify new biomarkers that can detect prostate cancer earlier.

Background: Master by research (Medicine) Alexandria University, Egypt; Master of Science (Histochemistry and Cell Biology) Sohag University, Egypt; Bachelor of Science (Biological Sciences); Master of Science (Molecular Biology). Publications on:

  • Prostate cancer-derived extracellular vesicles metabolic biomarkers: Emerging roles for diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutics.
  • Quantification of DNA and AgNORs Correlating to Cyclin D1-immunoexpression in Human Breast Cancer.
  • Chemoprevention of Chemical Carcinogenesis Induced Colon Tumours
  • Immunohistochemical Expression of Cyclin D1 in Invasive Ductal Carcinoma of Human Breast

Presentations: Immunohistochemical Expressions in Human Breast Cancer, 40th Intl Conference of Egyptian Society of Histology and Cytology; poster on profiling small and large extracellular vesicles in prostate cancer cell lines, NSW Cancer Conference 2023


Qi Wang

Qi is working on liquid biopsies as a way of improving the diagnosis and monitoring the  progression of prostate cancer. The work proposes to develop a sensitive, non-invasive liquid biopsy method to detect the extracellular vesicles and particles by cancer cells into the bloodstream, enabling better diagnosis and prognosis. The current prostate cancer diagnosis methods are costly, uncomfortable and inaccurate. The findings will help avoid unnecessary surgical biopsies and improve the prognosis for prostate cancer patients.

Background: PhD candidate (Medicine) ANU, Master of Science (Biological Sciences), Bachelor of Science (Biological Engineering). Qi has presented at conferences in Australia, New Zealand, at Australian-Chinese Biomedical Scientists (AACBS), 2023 Cancer Symposium (Sydney); NSW Cancer Conference and the Human Proteome Organization World Congress (HUPO), South Korea.


Yujin Lee

Work by Yujin is looking at “extracellular vesicles” in breast cancer diagnosis and the monitoring of metastasis (spread). The work suggests that ‘vesicles’ in breast cancer cells and human plasma can be identified and then used to diagnose breast cancer earlier. An aim of the work is to construct an EV-protein-based biomarker panel for breast cancer diagnosis, and look at how these biomarkers work in breast cancer tumorigenesis, invasion and spread.

Background: PhD candidate (UNSW); Master of Science (Research) University of Queensland. Published in: International Journal of Molecular Science, 24(20); Cancer Letters, 555; Molecular Cancer, 22(1). Presentation: Small extracellular vesicle protein biomarker profiles for breast cancer diagnosis at HUPO 2023, South Korea.