GMRI to host public lecture by Harvard Medical School expert in vascular birthmarks

Assoc. Prof. Arin Greene

The GMRI is pleased to host a public lecture in December as part of the GMRI Eminent Speakers’ Programme.

The lecture, titled “Vascular Birthmarks: From Bedside to Bench and Back”, will be delivered by Assoc. Prof. Arin Greene, a paediatric plastic surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Prof. Greene’s research is primarily focused on vascular birthmarks and lymphoedema. He has authored over 170 research papers and 100 book chapters, and has edited five books.

Dr Swee Tan says it is exciting to host a plastic surgeon and researcher of Prof. Greene’s calibre, and he and colleagues are looking forward to comparing research findings on vascular birthmarks, a field of research that the GMRI is actively involved in.

“As part of Prof. Greene’s visit we will be running a special vascular birthmarks clinic at Hutt Hospital in which we will be seeing patients with complex vascular birthmarks from around New Zealand. This clinic will be attended by specialists and trainees from Hutt Valley DHB and Capital & Coast DHB,” Dr Tan says.

Prof. Greene’s lecture will be held at 5pm Tuesday 5 December at Rutherford House Lecture Theatre, Pipitea Campus, Victoria University of Wellington.

The lecture is open to the public. Seats are limited so if you would like to attend please click here.

Dr Swee Tan: “A wonderful occasion”

Julie Anne Scott (left) Judith Langridge Carol Law and Ann-Louise Gower

From left: Julie Anne Scott, Judith Langridge, Carol Law and Ann-Louise Gower

“The Gala Dinner was a wonderful occasion. We are extremely grateful for the support and contribution made by many people and organisations. The money raised will be put towards the purchase of two much-needed pieces of equipment that are vital to our ongoing research.”

That’s the message from Dr Swee Tan, Founder and Executive Director of the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute, after $80,000 was raised at the Gala Dinner on 21 July. 170 guests attended the event.

Held at Wellington’s Boatshed, it was a “delightful evening” according to Judith Langridge who, with her committee colleagues Julie Anne Scott, Carol Law and Ann-Louise Gower, organised the event.

“The fundraising auction was very spirited … and very successful!” Judith said.

“We are very grateful to everyone who dug so deep for such a good cause.”

One of the auction items was an experience with Swee in which the winner will receive a 45 minute presentation followed by a question and answer session. This raised $7,000.

Swee also spoke at the dinner, as did one of his former patients, Mark Pennington ONZM, the Director of Pennington Design.

Tiana So’oialo (14), the daughter of former All Black, Rodney, sang at the event.

Judith said the occasion took almost four months to organise.

“It was definitely worth it because Swee and his team at the GMRI are doing such wonderful work that will benefit all of us eventually.”

Judith said she and her committee colleagues have families that have all been affected by cancer.

“We have very strong feelings about this issue and we all want to do what we can to help.”

The money that was raised will go towards the purchase of an Olympus confocal microscope and an Olympus cell culture microscope – vital pieces of equipment for cancer research and other work undertaken by the team at the GMRI. The confocal microscope is a fully automated benchtop laser microscope that images multiple colour-labelled proteins simultaneously and shows cells as they grow in culture in response to drug treatments. The cell culture microscope is capable of fluorescent imaging and captures high resolution images of cells in culture.

Olympus FV10i confocal microscope

Olympus FV10i confocal microscope

Olympus IX53 cell culture microscope

Olympus IX53 cell culture microscope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other photos from the night:

 

For more images from the night please click here.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Gillies McIndoe Research Institute backs extension of free human papillomavirus vaccinations to boys

p16

A micrograph of HPV induced throat cancer demonstrated in brown colour

Renowned plastic surgeon and cancer researcher Dr Swee Tan has come out in support of PHARMAC’s proposal to introduce free vaccinations to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) induced throat cancers.

PHARMAC is proposing to extend the free anti-cancer vaccine, known as Gardasil, to include year 8 boys, and widen the access for females and males to the age of 26, from January 2017.

The founder and executive director of the Wellington-based Gillies McIndoe Research Institute (GMRI) says the move will save lives and prevent suffering from HPV-induced throat cancer.

The GMRI team led by Dr Tan, in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team caring for patients with head and neck cancer, consisting of specialists from the Wellington Blood and Cancer Centre and Department of Otolaryngology at Wellington Regional Hospital and the Wellington Regional Plastic, Maxillofacial and Burns Unit and Department of Pathology at Hutt Hospital, have investigated the incidence and impact of HPV-induced throat cancer in New Zealand from 1994 to 2014. They have just published their work in an international journal.

“Our study shows the increased prevalence of HPV-induced throat cancer in New Zealand, and demonstrates its disproportionate burden on New Zealand men.”

It demonstrates that 81 percent of patients diagnosed with throat cancer during the study period were males.  It also shows that the prevalence of HPV-induced throat cancer increased from 24 percent during 1994 – 1999 to 76 percent during 2009 – 2014.

“Our study highlights a four-fold greater burden of throat cancer in men and a tripling of the proportion of HPV-induced throat cancer over the 20-year study period,” Dr Tan said.

The study also shows that patients with HPV-induced throat cancer were 10 years younger at the time of diagnosis and they died 9 years earlier compared with patients with non-HPV induced throat cancers.

“Throat cancer and its treatment have devastating impacts on the quality of life and daily functioning of the patients.

Dr Tan said HPV vaccination of both sexes would reduce the prevalence of HPV carriage. Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada already offer the vaccine free to boys as part of their immunisation programmes.

“Throat carcinoma is the second most common cancer associated with HPV. It has been estimated that by 2020 the incidence of HPV-induced throat cancer will be greater than the incidence of cervical cancer and that, in the United States, half of all head and neck cancers will be HPV-related by 2030.
“Immunisation covering high-risk HPV subtypes 6, 11, 16, and 18 was introduced in Australia for girls in 2007 and extended to boys in 2013. In New Zealand, the vaccination of girls commenced in 2008. However, it has not yet been extended to boys.
“We support and commend PHARMAC’s proposal to extend HPV vaccination to boys in New Zealand. It is a cost-effective way to prevent HPV-related throat cancer and other HPV-induced cancers in both men and women,” Dr Tan said.

To read the full article online, please click here.

Save

Save

Save

Save

TEDx Talk: Dr Swee Tan’s Presentation on the GMRI’s New Way of Looking at Cancer

Dr Tan honoured with prestigious Kea Award

 

Kea_WCNZ_Awards_0004

We are delighted that Dr Swee Tan, the GMRI’s Founder and Executive Director, is the recipient of a prestigious Kea 2015 World Class New Zealand Award.

Read More

Dr Tan acts as ambassador for the Value of Medicines Award

From left, Hon Heather Roy, Chair of Medicines New Zealand, Dr Swee Tan and Hon Peter Dunne

From left, Hon Heather Roy, Chair of Medicines New Zealand, Dr Swee Tan and Hon Peter Dunne

Medicines New Zealand provides an annual award to showcase innovative research projects that can improve the health of New Zealanders through the use of medicines and vaccines.

Read More