Dr Laura Bray

Research Field: Biotechnology

We know that approximately 95% of new drugs that test positive during lab trials and animal
testing will fail during clinical trials, creating a bottleneck of ineffective drugs. This is
because animals and humans are biologically different.
Traditional methods for cancer research use human cells grown on a 2D surface such as
plastic or glass, which does not replicate human biology. This issue has hindered cancer
research for decades.
Dr Bray is developing new 3D technologies for cancer research, using cancer cells grown
inside a jelly-like material (hydrogel) or “mini-tissues”. Cancer cells grow inside the mini-
tissues as they would in a human body, so researchers can study different cancers and test
drugs on them.
Laura’s research places Australia at the forefront of cutting-edge cancer research
technologies, and by providing a new method for drug companies to test cancer treatments.
This could lead to a greater speed to market, greater drug accuracy in humans, and will
reduce drug testing in animals. These 3D mini-tissues open the way for better health
outcomes for patients. This is the future of cancer research.