GMRI scientists lead the way in solving crippling hand disease

Sabrina Koh, Deane Endowment Trust sponsored summer student

People suffering from Dupuytren’s disease could ultimately regain the function of their hands and quality of life, thanks to the international award winning work of the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute (GMRI).

Dr Swee Tan, Executive Director of the GMRI today congratulated 20-year-old Deane Endowment Trust sponsored summer student Sabrina Koh, for winning the 2017 International Dupuytren Award. Her research has also been published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open, the most prestigious plastic surgery journal in the world.

“Dupuytren’s disease causes one or more fingers to curl into the palm due to the contracting and toughening of connective tissue. While surgery is commonly used to remove the contracted tissue, it involves prolonged periods of rehabilitation and readily recurs in some patients. In extreme cases it may necessitate amputation,” said Dr Tan.

Dupuytren’s disease

While this disease is still poorly understood and treated, it affects millions of people worldwide, particularly those of Northern European descent. High profile sufferers include Bill Nighy who recently spoke about his condition on Radio New Zealand’s Saturday Morning programme.

Ms Koh’s project was based on the novel approach of focusing on the stem cell origin of Dupuytren’s disease, closely mirroring research that the GMRI is undertaking into the origins of cancer.

“Our recent research has shown that cancer stem cells are the potential origin of cancer. We believe that a combination of existing, affordable medications commonly used for other conditions can be repurposed, and used to manipulate the key pathways that control cancer stem cells and, ultimately, the progression of cancer.”

“Our objective is to create a low-cost and widely available treatment for cancer,” Dr Tan said. 

This approach has already proven successful in a small series of patients and a full clinical study is planned for later this year, subject to funding.

Dr Tan acknowledged Sir Roderick Deane and Lady Gillian Deane for their ongoing generous support of the GMRI’s summer student programme that made the Dupuytren’s disease research possible.

Ms Koh’s research was supervised by GMRI Chief Scientific Officer Dr Tinte Itinteang, and the team included plastic and hand surgeon Dr Jim Armstrong, Dr Tan, Dr Paul Davis, Dr Helen Brasch, and summer student Nicholas On.

ENDS

For media enquires please contact Peter Fitzjohn on 027 740 9281

For more information and images of Dupuytren’s disease

Access the full research paper Embryonic Stem Cell–like Population in Dupuytren’s Disease

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Identification of Three Cancer Stem Cell Subpopulations within Moderately Differentiated Lip Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Authors: Rachna Ram, Helen D. Brasch, Jonathan C. Dunne, Paul F. Davis, Swee T. Tan and Tinte Itinteang

Frontiers in Surgery – Otorhinolarynology – Head and Neck Surgery Surgery, Front Surg 2017; 4:

http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fsurg.2017.000412

Cancers of the lip are found with relatively similar levels of incidence throughout the world. The incidence is higher in males (between 12 and 13.5 per 100,000 population) but the frequency in females is increasing. It is usually treated with surgery, radiotherapy or both.

Read More

GMRI scientists to present at the International Stem Cell Conference

Dr Swee Tan, Executive Director, and Dr Tinte Itinteang, Chief Scientific Officer, will be attending and presenting at the 10th International Conference on Cancer Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine in London, to be held in June.

Read More

Justin Lester, Wellington City Mayor, visits the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute

From left: Dr Swee Tan, Mayor Justin Lester and GMRI Chair, Paul Baines

I was delighted to visit Dr Swee Tan, Paul Baines and the team at the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute in February.

Read More

Cancer Stem Cell Hierarchy in Glioblastoma Multiforme

Authors: Amy Bradshaw, Agadha Wickremsekera, Swee T. Tan, Lifeng Peng, Paul F. Davis and Tinte Itinteang

Frontiers in Surgery – Neurosurgery, Front Surg 2016;3:21

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fsurg.2016.00021

This paper is a review of the current knowledge and understanding of the cause of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a type of brain cancer.

Read More

Cancer Stem Cells in Glioblastoma Multiforme

Authors: Amy Bradshaw, Agadha Wickremesekera, Helen D. Brasch, Alice M. Chibnall, Paul F. Davis, Swee T. Tan and Tinte Itinteang

Frontiers in Surgery – Neurosurgery, Front Surg 2016;3:48

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fsurg.2016.00048

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most aggressive type of primary brain tumour. It has a five-year survival of only 2%, despite intensive research. It frequently recurs following surgical resection, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. This poor prognosis has been attributed to the initiation, propagation and differentiation of cancer stem cells (CSCs).

Read More

Glioblastoma Multiforme Cancer Stem Cells Express Components of the Renin-Angiotensin System

Authors: Amy R. Bradshaw, Agadha C. Wickremesekera, Helen D. Brasch, Alice M. Chibnall, Paul F. Davis, Swee T. Tan and Tinte Itinteang

Frontiers in Surgery – Neurosurgery, Front Surg 2016;3:51

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fsurg.2016.00051

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a brain cancer that constitutes 60-70% of all malignant gliomas. This poor prognosis has been ascribed to the presence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) within the GBM. These CSCs multiply and form cancer cells that make up the bulk of the tumour. The CSCs are resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Read More

Cancer Stem Cells in Moderately Differentiated Oral Tongue Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Authors: Ranui Baillie, Tinte Itinteang, Helen H. Yu, Helen D. Brasch, Paul F. Davis and Swee T. Tan

Journal of Clinical Pathology, 2016;69:742-744

http://jcp.bmj.com/content/69/8/742.full?sid=0b72c4ed-b6af-4a90-83bf-b8a3263fc86a

Cancers of the mouth are the sixth most common type of cancer. Among these cancers those affecting the tongue is the most common. The main therapies for treating these are surgery and radiotherapy. The chance of survival following conventional treatments is only 50%, which has remained unchanged for more than 40 years.

Read More

Cancer Stem Cells in Moderately Differentiated Oral Tongue Squamous Cell Carcinoma Express Components of the Renin-Angiotensin System

Authors: Tinte Itinteang, Jonathan C. Dunne, Alice M. Chibnall, Helen D. Brasch, Paul F. Davis and Swee T. Tan

 Journal of Clinical Pathology, 2016;69:942-945

http://jcp.bmj.com/content/69/8/742.full?sid=0b72c4ed-b6af-4a90-83bf-b8a3263fc86a

Oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma (OTSCC) is the most common cancer of the mouth. In a previous publication we identified two distinct subpopulations of cancer stem cells (CSCs) within tongue cancers, distributed within different areas of the tumour.

Read More

Characterization of Cancer Stem Cells in Moderately Differentiated Buccal Mucosal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Authors: Helen H. Yu, Therese Featherston, Swee T. Tan, Alice M. Chibnall, Helen D. Brasch, Paul F. Davis and Tinte Itinteang

Frontiers in Surgery – Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Front Surg 2016;3:46

http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fsurg.2016.00046

Cancers in the mouth are the sixth most common cancer worldwide, with over 90% being squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). SCCs affect the tongue, the floor of the mouth, the inner cheek region, the hard palate and the jaw.

Read More