Gillies McIndoe Wins Business Excellence Award


Clint Gray and Margie Beattie at the awards. Photo courtesy of 2degrees Wellington Regional Business Excellence Awards.

It was a real thrill to be named the winner in the ‘Not for Profit’ category of the 2degrees Wellington Regional Business Excellence Awards at a gala awards function in Lower Hutt on 18 November.

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Agreement to Progress Topical Strawberry Birthmarks Treatment

Heather Jenkinson in the lab.

Our work in understanding and treating strawberry birthmarks in children has moved a step closer to further development through an agreement we have reached with AFT Pharmaceuticals and Massey University.

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Scholarships Support Emerging Talent

We have been fortunate to receive funding for two new scholarships that will support our research efforts, as well as our efforts to develop emerging talent in our research field.

It’s important to us that we play a role in developing the next generation of research scientists and Dr Clint Gray, our Chief Scientist, has been instrumental in attracting the funding to support and attract PhD students to our laboratory. We are working to develop a centre of excellence and an attractive pathway for promising scientists to broaden their skills, knowledge, and practice, and contribute towards valuable scientific research.


Melody Collins Memorial Scholarship

Melody Collins and family

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Glioblastoma Phase II Clinical Trial Expected to Begin in 2023

Our fundraising has been progressing, and early next year we hope to begin our phase II clinical trial on glioblastoma, the most common and most aggressive brain cancer.

We are very grateful for the significant and generous donation of $1 million from the Hugo Charitable Trust received earlier this year towards the trial. Hugo backs our work and we have been working with other trusts and philanthropists since to help make the clinical trial happen.

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Malaysian Fundraiser Contributes $11k Towards Research into use of Repurposed Drugs

Malaysian High Commissioner Nur Izzah Wong Mee Choo, Margie Beattie and Carol Law

We are grateful to the Malaysian High Commission for hosting a fundraising lunch raising $11,000 in support of our research into the use of repurposed drugs.

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Summer Students Bolster our Efforts

Dr Sam Siljee, Georgia Hoggarth, Freya Weth and Anya Weth.

This summer we will have two university students join our team as part of our summer student programme.

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Open Days Prove Rewarding

Dr Clint Gray and Gillies McIndoe Ambassador Andrea Skews.

This spring we have hosted a series of Open Days in our Wellington-based laboratories, to enable some supporters to enjoy a tour of our facilities.

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Women’s Golf Classic Chips In

We are grateful to have received $2000 towards our research efforts through a recent raffle fundraiser held during a golf tournament at the Royal Wellington Golf Club.

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A $1 million gift brings our glioblastoma clinical trial closer

Members of Living Options and the Hugo Charitable Trust visiting the GMRI.

Members of Living Options and the Hugo Charitable Trust visiting the GMRI. From left to right: Alison Wildey, Lorenzo Chambers, Maryanne Green, Aiobheann Monaghan, Dr Swee Tan, and Mark Owens.

We’re very grateful to the Hugo Charitable Trust for their generous donation of $1 million towards our phase II clinical trial on our new treatment for glioblastoma. Glioblastoma is a severe, usually fatal, brain cancer. The Trust’s donation brings us significantly closer to starting the trial.

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Organoids provide a promising way for testing cancer treatments

Doctor Matt Munro in a lab, holding a pipette and smiling at the camera.

Dr Matt Munro is creating colon organoids from colon tissue samples to test how effective different cancer treatments are.

Dr Matt Munro is developing colon organoids to test the effectiveness of possible treatments for colon cancers. The human organoids are miniature ‘organs in a dish’, created from human tissue samples. Organoids could one day be used routinely to test new treatments and customise treatment for individual patients to improve their outcomes.

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Iron women, a mountain challenge, and butterflies —three of our amazing supporters’ stories

Two women, Emma Treadwell and Sarah Hogan, run cross the finish line holding hands high in triumph and grinning.

Sarah Hogan (right) and Emma Treadwell (left) finishing the 2022 Ironman in Port Macquarie, Australia, raising funds for our glioblastoma clinical trial.

Our ambassadors go up mountains, around countries, and push themselves really hard — for our cause, and for New Zealanders who may face brain cancer. These three stories show how wonderful people selflessly raise awareness of our research and the funding it needs. We cherish these three supporters, their amazing stories, and the many other special people who support and inspire us.

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Erin Paterson promoted to Laboratory Manager/Senior Laboratory Technician

Erin Paterson in the lab wearing a white lab coat, while using a microtome machine.

Erin Paterson cuts tissue sections using a microtome.

We congratulate Erin Paterson, who has been promoted to her new role as Laboratory Manager/Senior Laboratory Technician. Erin’s been at the GMRI since 2017. Over the years she’s been responsible for coordinating the cell culture programme for the GMRI tissue bank, which is vital to our research.

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Meet Freya Weth, our new PhD student

Freya Weth wears a white lab coat and smiles at the camera with an image of a glioblastoma organoid on her computer.

Freya Weth, looking at a glioblastoma organoid grown in the GMRI lab.

We welcome Freya Weth, who’s joining us for the next three years to complete her PhD in biomedical science. She’s received the Graham Langridge Scholarship and was ‘in complete disbelief’ when she heard the news.

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Results of our phase I glioblastoma clinical trial

a researcher looking at a slide under a microscope

The results of our phase I glioblastoma clinical trial have been published, and we’re excited to share them with the world.

The findings of our phase I glioblastoma clinical trial have been published in the international Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. The results of the trial show that the treatment is safe, well-tolerated and may improve the life expectancy of patients with glioblastoma.

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Our phase I glioblastoma clinical trial is completed — let’s start our phase II clinical trial!

Sun rising over a lake with a golden sky. A woman sits looking into the sun with her back to the camera.

Our phase II glioblastoma clinical trial will recruit 75 New Zealanders.

We’ve now received approval from the Standing Committee on Therapeutic Trials and the Health and Disability Ethics Committee to begin a phase II glioblastoma clinical trial. Now we need the funding to begin the trial.

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A clinical trial for four-legged friends using our new cancer treatment

John Mundy and Keren Dittmer and Thomas Odom are examining Obi the cat on the examination table

Professor John Munday (centre) is looking for cats and dogs for a study which involves giving a combination of oral medications that aim at slowing cancer progression. Holding Obi the cat is senior clinician Thomas Odom and project co-leader Keren Dittmer (left).

We’re partnering with a research team led by Professor John Munday at the School of Veterinary Science at Massey University, to trial our new cancer treatment for cats and dogs. If you know of cats with mouth or skin cancer, or dogs with mouth or bone cancer, please get in touch with Professor Munday. They could be eligible for the free trial.

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Researching tongue cancer

Bridget sitting in front of a computer and microscope.

Meet our Research Fellow Dr Bridget Chang-McDonald, who’s investigating tongue cancer to better understand how it develops and spreads.

Dr Bridget Chang-McDonald, who trained as an anatomical pathologist, is leading a project on tongue cancer — an aggressive cancer. The team will study how the genes in tongue cancer behave. We’ll use spatial transcriptomic analysis, a cutting-edge technology that helps researchers understand diseases. We would like to thank the Head and Neck Cancer Foundation Aotearoa and Research For Life for their grants, making this research project possible.

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Transforming lives for a brighter future

Cindy, Margie, and Ruth stand next to each other in front of the blue butterfly, which is the logo of the GMRI.

Our journey from research to transforming lives is a long one. Here’s the team behind the scenes who are helping to make this possible: Cindy Naresh, Margie Beattie, and Ruth Watson-Black.

Every person we’ve met through our work at the GMRI has a story. Many of their stories have become part of our quest to transform lives through pioneering future treatment for cancer. One such person is Margie Beattie, who joined the team to work closely with our supporters to tell their stories — and our story too.

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Congratulations Matt Munro on finishing your PhD!

Matt looks into the camera. He has blue gloves on and holds a pipette in one hand and a tube in the other.

GMRI PhD student Matt Munro has recently completed his PhD at Victoria University of Wellington, and we welcome him back to the team as a post-doctoral research fellow.

We warmly congratulate team member Matt Munro on completing his PhD study. Matt began with the GMRI as a research assistant in 2016. In 2017, he began his PhD study working alongside our research team. Matt will continue with us as a post-doctoral research fellow. His next project investigates a possible cause of colon cancer, under the supervision of our Chief Scientist Dr Sean Hall.

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Fundraising for the future

Dr Sean Hall stands in front of a whiteboard. He wears glasses and is speaking into a small mouthpiece.

Our Chief Scientist Dr Sean Hall talked about his work developing human organoids at a recent morning tea at Seatoun Bowling Club in Wellington.

While our researchers busily work behind closed doors, we’re fortunate to have dedicated helpers organising events where we share our research with the wider community. One such occasion was a morning tea at the Seatoun Bowling Club in February.

The event helped us raise $18,800, thanks to generous donations from local businesses and a number of people. The money will go towards our research programme and clinical trial. We’ll hold similar events in May and June.

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PhD research at two world-class facilities

Sam in white research coat sitting in front of computer. Computer screen shows slide image of tissue.

Dr Sam Siljee first came to the GMRI as a summer student. He’ll now start his PhD study investigating early changes in lung cancer.

In October last year, we ran an article about former summer student Dr Sam Siljee investigating a new low-cost treatment for keloid disorder. Sam was recently awarded a PhD scholarship by Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) for his PhD research, which will be carried out at the GMRI and VUW.

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The Phase I results are in for our glioblastoma clinical trial

Rocks are stacked from largest to smallest with golden rays of sunlight slanting past. Behind them in a soft focus, the sun sinks into the sea.

It all stacks up — results from our Phase I clinical trial suggest our treatment could improve outcomes for patients with glioblastoma.

Results of our Phase I clinical trial on glioblastoma, a severe brain cancer, show that the our treatment is safe with minimal side effects, preserves patients’ quality of life, and could extend life expectancy. We’re seeking more funding to start our glioblastoma Phase II clinical trial, where we plan to treat more patients at an earlier stage in their illness.

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Transforming lives with your generous support

Close-up of two honey bees taking the nectar from flowers in a field of lavender.

We’re seeking to start our glioblastoma Phase II clinical trial. But we need more support than ever to get there.

As we prepare to commence our Phase II clinical trial for glioblastoma, a severe brain cancer, we need more support than ever. We’ve made it this far because of the generous support of many people. We’re grateful to every one of you, whether you’ve helped us as a donor, a patient, an attendee at one of our public events, or as a helpful hand behind the scenes.

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Making valuable progress during a very challenging year

The past 12 months have seen the world face the enormous challenge of dealing with the COVID‑19 global pandemic and the resulting health and economic crisis. At the GMRI, we’re grateful to work in a country with such strong political and health leadership. We’re lucky to have been able to keep working with few interruptions.

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Putting people first on the GMRI’s journey to success

Meet Dr Sean Hall — our new chief scientist.

Success for the GMRI’s new chief scientist, Dr Sean Hall, will mean two things: helping our team reach its research goals and setting a good example. ‘If I’m able to accomplish this, then I’ll be able to look back knowing I’ve put people first and achieved good outcomes.’

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Two passionate researchers and their exciting projects

Dr Amanda Peacock and Dr Sam Siljee have carried out research with our team and made interesting findings.

Dr Amanda Peacock is a plastic surgical trainee at Middlemore Hospital. She put her training on hold last year to take part in a six-month fundamental research programme at the GMRI, investigating breast cancer. Dr Sam Siljee was one of our summer students in 2014–2015 and 2015–2016. He’s starting a PhD study on keloid disorder at the beginning of 2021.

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Our clinical trials are making steady progress

Cancer stem cells are like ‘queen bees’ that produce ‘worker bees’ (cancer cells). These stem cells also produce new queen bees that create new ‘hives’ (new tumours in other parts of the body).

Our clinical trial programme is testing the GMRI’s novel treatment approach by targeting cancer stem cells, the proposed origin of cancer. We are currently running two trials, focusing on patients with glioblastoma and patients with advanced malignant melanoma who have failed conventional treatment. The glioblastoma clinical trial is well underway and the early results are promising.

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Our handy helper — thanks to you

Our BOND RX Research auto-stainer.

Our laboratories have a range of high-tech equipment thanks to donations and philanthropic support. We wanted to show you how one vital piece of equipment can help us so much. In just a few hours, our BOND RX Research auto-stainer does what would otherwise take us two days, and we use it in almost all of our research.

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Your opportunity to make a real difference

Join us and become a GMRI donor. By supporting our research, you’ll play a part in making a real difference in the lives of people suffering from cancer.

As a charity, our goals are unashamedly aspirational — the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute exists to reduce human suffering and improve lives. With your help we can achieve our goals.

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We do ground-breaking work in areas you might not know about

Our research spans several medical conditions. Image byThisisRngineering RAEng/Unsplash.

While we are best known for our work on cancer, the GMRI team also carries out world-leading work in other fields.

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Students and interns contribute to understanding of diseases

Dr Sabrina Koh and Therese Featherston have both been involved in the GMRI’s summer student programme. Their respective experiences helped shape their career aspirations.

In addition to the GMRI’s staff and a PhD student, we take on summer students and interns every year to undertake research. In this article, we explain our summer student and intern programmes, and talk to 2 past students about their experiences.

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Our manuscripts, our heart

Reflecting on our hard work over the years. Image byLinus Schütz/Pixabay license.

Our manuscripts record the hard work of our researchers, our students and interns, and our supporters over the years. We’ve had 99 manuscripts on our discoveries published in peer-reviewed journals around the world since we moved into our new premises at the end of 2013. Our team has presented papers at over 70 international and national conferences and won a number of prizes and awards. We’ve also secured 9 international patents from our discoveries across the range of diseases we investigate. We wouldn’t be here today without the huge efforts of our people and many supporters along the way.

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Meet our pathologists — Dr Helen Brasch and Dr Bridget Chang-McDonald

Dr Helen Brasch, left, and Dr Bridget Chang-McDonald are the GMRI’s two resident pathologists.

Our pathologists often work behind the scenes, so we want to share more about their important roles in our research. ‘We are very fortunate to have in-house anatomical pathology expertise – among other things, an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the characteristics of the disease tissues we are studying – an envy of many biomedical research institutes’, says Dr Tan. ‘Our pathologists’ contributions are hugely significant and fundamental to our quest for a better solution to unsolved medical problems.’

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Private donor pledging: your opportunity to make a real difference

By supporting our research, you’ll play a part in making a real difference in the lives of people suffering from cancer. Image byLina Trochez/Unsplash.

Our goals as a charity are not small — the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute exists to reduce human suffering and improve lives. You can help us to achieve our aspirations.

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We’ve achieved significant progress in 2019

With another year drawing to a close, we reflect on what the past 12 months have brought to the GMRI and the people we aim to help. We’ve made some exciting discoveries and shared them with scientists and specialists around the world. We’ve had some talented people join our team, and we’re waiting for our new Principal Investigator to arrive. Underscoring these activities is the generous support of our many donors, whose dedication and generosity allow us to keep pushing the boundaries. We couldn’t be more grateful to you all.

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Our research on the international stage at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons’ Annual Scientific Congress, May 2019

Dr Swee Tan with the plaques for being the ‘Distinguished Invited Lecturer’ in the plenary session (on the left) and for presenting the ‘Tom Reeve Lecture’ (on the right).

In May, we were honoured to deliver presentations at the 88th Annual Scientific Congress of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, held in Bangkok. Over 1750 delegates attended the Congress from Australia, New Zealand, and around the world. Many of our colleagues inspired us with the discoveries they shared.

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We’ve won an international award for our work in Dupuytren’s Disease

Dr Kirin Tan is the co-author of our winning paper.

We’re honoured to receive further recognition of our work in Dupuytren’s Disease — a debilitating condition affecting the hands. Dr Kirin Tan co-authored the winning paper with our team when he was a medical student at Auckland University doing an elective at the GMRI. The paper, titled The Role of Stem Cells in Dupuytren’s Disease: A Review, won the Best Oceanic Paper Award from Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open, a prestigious international journal.

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Matthew Munro: improving patient management

PhD student Matt Munro has identified new markers that could help the management of colon cancer patients.

For a former research technician, Matt Munro says the GMRI has been the perfect place to undertake his PhD. Matt is investigating the role of cancer stem cells (CSCs) and the renin-angiotensin system in colon cancer.

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Erin Paterson: creating a powerful resource

Erin Paterson: ‘Everything I do is working towards the ultimate goal of a better understanding of cancer’.

Erin Paterson coordinates the vital cell culture and tissue banking programme for the GMRI’s primary cell lines. After taking tissues donated by patients to the GMRI and growing cells from them, these cells are used for the GMRI’s research.

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Our interns: specialists in the making

Tessa Pilkington, Claire Luke-Krishnan and Jazmean Williams.

We love working with our interns and fostering the next generation of scientists and medical experts. They contribute to our wide range of research on cancers and other conditions. This year we have had three interns outside of our usual summer studentship programme, with Tessa Pilkington, Claire Luke-Krishnan, and Jazmean Williams joining us for four months. We’ve asked them questions about their internship experience.

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Private donor pledging: your opportunity to make a real difference

By supporting our research, you’ll play a part in making a real difference in the lives of people suffering from cancer. Image byLina Trochez/Unsplash.

Our goals as a charity are not small — the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute exists to reduce human suffering and improve lives. You can help us to achieve our aspirations.

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In our five years we’ve launched two clinical trials

Since the GMRI opened its state-of-the art laboratory facility in Newtown, Wellington, we’ve gained approval for four clinical trials to test our novel cancer treatment based on our discoveries in the lab. We didn’t expect to be here in just five years — we thought it would take much longer. At the recent Royal Australasian College of Surgeons’ Annual Scientific Congress in Bangkok we heard many comments from colleagues who are excited about our work. They see our approach to cancer treatment as unique and radical.

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Clinical study on new cancer treatment for glioblastoma (brain cancer) shows promising early results

The GMRI uses the analogy of a beehive as an explanation for cancer. Photo byMaxime Gilbert/CC0 1.0.

Early results of our clinical trial testing the GMRI’s new cancer treatment for patients with glioblastoma, a devastating brain cancer, were reviewed at a recent independent Data Monitoring Board meeting. The Board concluded that these early results show promise in treating the disease.

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Meet Dr Imogen Roth, our new cancer biologist

Dr Imogen Roth started in February and is already working on research for the GMRI.

Imogen returned to New Zealand after a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Oxford, supported by a prestigious Nuffield Medical Fellowship. She’s happy to be back, and contributing to research science in New Zealand. Imogen wants to use her background in cancer biology and tumour suppressor genes to look closely at cancer stem cells. She already has ideas on what she can develop into experiments and projects. She loves looking closely at things to understand how they work.

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Mourning the loss of an extraordinary patron

To our great loss, one of our patrons, Sir John Jeffries, passed away in January. Sir John had long been a supporter of our work. He was generous and compassionate, and we’ll miss his guidance and encouragement.

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Nurturing the next generation of scientists

Returning summer students. From top left, these students include: Claudia Paterson, Therese Featherston, Hugo Humphries, and Sabrina Koh.

Our summer student programme is an integral part of the GMRI’s activities. Every year we welcome up to 6 exceptional students to take part in a 3-month research placement. They impress and amaze us with their ability and capacity. Some of them return for a second and sometimes third summer.

Let us introduce you to four of our returning students. And just before we do, we’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Lady Gillian and Sir Roderick Deane, who have supported the summer studentship programme since it began in 2013.

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Meet Peter Besseling and Carol Law, two of our amazing fundraisers

Peter Besseling has been travelling around New Zealand for the last 3 months in a campervan in support of the GMRI.

We’re always very grateful to everyone who supports and helps us in word and deed. Our biggest thanks go to the people who raise support for us with their dedication and philanthropic kindness. For example, Peter Besseling, who’s been road-tripping in a campervan covered in our paua-butterfly, spreading the word about the work of the GMRI. Or Carol Law, who’s organised fundraising events for us at the grass-roots level for the last 10 years.

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Thank you to our many supporters

As 2018 is coming to an end, on behalf of the GMRI I’d like to thank you all for your ongoing interest and support of our work. We rely on the dedication and generosity of donors and many other people and organisations to be able to keep pushing the boundaries, seeking to bypass what has been done to treat cancer for the last 100 years. We’re excited about what we’ve accomplished this year as we focus on our goal to treat cancer without surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. We couldn’t have achieved as much without the support of so many.

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$300,000 from Hugo keeps our research rolling

Philanthropist Hugh Green first started donating to worthy causes over 50 years ago.

We rely on the dedication and kindness of donors to keep our work going. So we were thrilled to recently receive a very large and generous donation of $300,000 from the Hugo Charitable Trust. We’ll put this money towards our cancer clinical study programme.

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Collecting for the tissue bank — the work of two research nurses

Our labs at the GMRI rely on human tissue samples for our research projects. These samples are stored in the GMRI tissue bank, which forms a valuable and unique resource for our work. To collect the types of samples we need requires the knowledge of two research nurses. With many years of nursing experience between them, Carolyn Croasdale and Merie Claridge make up this experienced team.

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Meet the team testing well-known medications for brain cancer treatment trial

Clinical Study Co-ordinator, Frances FitzJohn, and Clinical Study Doctor, Dr David Young.

In the Hutt Hospital outpatients clinic, Dr David Young and Frances FitzJohn are the face of the GMRI team treating patients with devastating brain cancer, glioblastoma. They are trialling the novel cancer treatment developed by the GMRI, consisting of a blend of commonly used medications. The 3-year clinical trial started earlier this year. If successful, this approach could transform the way cancer is treated, potentially prolonging life and improving life quality.

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The GMRI shines at international conferences

Sabrina Koh presents on the presence of stem cells in head and neck squamous cell cancer.

We’re proud to share the experiences of our students and trainees who have recently presented at international conferences.

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New cancer treatment for glioblastoma — a devastating brain cancer

A new cancer treatment developed by the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute is being trialled for glioblastoma, a devastating brain cancer, which could revolutionise how the cancer is treated.

If proven effective, the cancer could be treated at home — without chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or surgery. Patients would instead take commonly used, inexpensive medications. The treatment would cost a fraction of current treatments.

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Mentoring the next generation of scientists

Dr Itinteang with our recent summer students. Left to right: Sabrina Koh, Hugo Humphries, Therese Featherston, Dr Tinte Itinteang, Claudia Paterson, Shanella Nallaiah, Min Yi Lee.

Running a laboratory isn’t just about pioneering new research. It’s also an opportunity to foster the talents and enthusiasm of future scientists.

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Helping us fight cancer, one donation at a time

You’ve probably heard that it takes a village to raise a child. But did you know that it takes a community to run a lab? The generosity and hard work of a huge range of donors and fundraisers helps to keep the GMRI staffed, stocked, and functioning year round. We’re grateful for every contribution we receive — no amount is too small to make a difference.

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Many invitations to present internationally — demonstrating the significance and breadth of the GMRI’s work

Having 13 abstracts accepted for an Australasian conference is testimony to the GMRI’s research community, says Chief Scientific Officer Dr Tinte Itinteang. It highlights the significance and breadth of the GMRI’s work.

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International recognition for cancer research

The green specks are cancer stem cells in glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

The research team at the Gillies McIndoe Research Insitute has been invited to write an editorial on a cancer research paper by scientists from Canada and United Kingdom, which appeared in the prestigious journal Nature.

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Learning to re-programme stem cells at the Salk Institute

Erin Paterson and Dr Swee Tan at the Plimmerton Rotary Club.

Stem cells differ from other kinds of cells. Unlike muscle cells, blood cells, or nerve cells, for example, stem cells can divide and renew themselves.

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Top plastic surgeon and stem cell researcher calls GMRI cancer research “extraordinary”

Dr Swee Tan, Professor Wayne Morrison, Mayor Justin Lester, Chair Paul Baines

In August the GMRI was honoured to host top plastic surgeon and stem cell researcher, Professor Wayne Morrison, as part of the GMRI Eminent Speakers’ Programme.

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

Associate Professor Arin Greene

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

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Capital & Coast District Health Board and the GMRI team up on glioblastoma research

CCDHB neurosurgeon and GMRI Honorary Research Associate, Dr Agadha Wickremesekera

Researchers from the GMRI and neurosurgeons from Capital & Coast DHB have joined forces to tackle glioblastoma (GB), the most aggressive primary cancer of the brain.

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Sharing our research and plans with funders and supporters

Dr Swee Tan, PHARMAC communications manager Kerri Osborne and CEO Steffan Crausaz, Chair Paul Baines

During the past few months the GMRI has welcomed a number of VIP’s to our Newtown laboratories, including Steffan Crausaz, CEO of PHARMAC, CEO of the Health Research Council, Professor Kathryn McPherson, and Singapore-based businessman and innovator Robert Yap.  

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Generous donation from Plimmerton Rotary Club will “supercharge” stem cell research

Club President Graeme Blick, Dr Swee Tan and Dr Tinte Itinteang

In August, GMRI Executive Director Dr Swee Tan and Chief Scientific Officer Dr Tinte Itinteang were guests of the Plimmerton Rotary Club, where they were presented with a significant donation for our cancer stem cell research.

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GMRI scientists give keynote addresses at the 10th International Conference on Cancer Stem Cells and Oncology Research

Executive Director Dr Swee Tan and Chief Scientific Officer Dr Tinte Itinteang recently returned from London where they delivered two keynote addresses at the 10th International Conference on Cancer Stem Cells and Oncology Research.

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GMRI to host lecture by top Australian plastic surgeon and stem cell researcher

Professor Wayne Morrison

The GMRI is pleased to announce that Australian Professor Wayne Morrison will be giving a public lecture in Wellington as part of the GMRI Eminent Speakers’ Programme.

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College students raise funds for glioblastoma research

From left: Dr Tinte Itinteang, Olivia Watson, Phoebe Ellis, Dr Agadha Wickremesekera, Dr Paul Davis

Staff at the GMRI received a special visit this month from Queen Margaret College student Phoebe Ellis, who has raised close to $1000 towards the GMRI’s glioblastoma (GB) research programme.

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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 GMRI.

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Sir Harold Gillies’s pioneering work recognised as part of Passchendaele commemorations

Sir Harold Gillies

The pioneering work of Sir Harold Gillies, whom the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute is co-named after, has been recognised by the UK’s Daily Mail as part of the commemorations of the battle of Passchendaele.

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GMRI joins social media

The GMRI is making improvements in how we communicate with our friends and supporters, by joining Facebook and Twitter.

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Recent publications in peer-reviewed journals

The GMRI’s research team is actively engaged in publishing articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

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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.

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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.

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Microscope a key contributor to Gillies McIndoe Research Institute research programme

A confocal microscopic image of tongue cancer showing cancer stem cells with their nuclei (in blue) staining red and their cell membranes outlined in green (left), taken with the GMRI confocal microscope (right)

Talk of an FV1200 Olympus ‘laser’ confocal microscope with live cell imaging means nothing to most people – but to the GMRI it’s a prized possession which has assisted with many scientific breakthroughs.

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Summaries of recent Gillies McIndoe Research Institute journal publications

The GMRI’s research team is actively engaged in publishing articles in peer-reviewed medical science journals. This is an important aspect of the research programme as it promotes an international awareness of significant findings by the GMRI and provides a vital forum for collaborative exchange, critique and review. To view summaries of some recent publications please click here.





Andrew Blair joins the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute Board

Andrew Blair

The chair of the GMRI, Paul Baines, says he’s very pleased that Andrew Blair, the chair of Capital & Coast District Health Board and Hutt Valley District Health Board, has accepted an invitation to join the GMRI’s Board.

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Former Gillies McIndoe Research Institute students’ success

Ranui Baillie (left) and Lucy Sulzberger

The GMRI is helping to produce a new generation of high achievers in the medical research field.

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Collaborative project on effective drug delivery by nanotechnology receives $1m Government grant


From left to right: Dr Tinte Itinteang, Dr Swee Tan, Dr Eng Tan, Sean Mackay, and Dr Paul Davis

The Gillies McIndoe Research Institute (GMRI) is helping to develop a smart drug delivery system that will see medications delivered directly through the skin rather than in pill form or as an injection.

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GMRI research potentially life-changing, says Wellington neurosurgeon


Dr Agadha Wickremesekera

People with brain cancer could have better chances of survival thanks to preliminary research the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute (GMRI) has conducted into cancer stem cells in brain tumours, says Dr Agadha Wickremesekera, a neurosurgeon at the Wellington Regional Hospital and an honorary research associate of the GMRI.

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Aspiring to achieve an effective treatment for Dupuytren’s disease


Dr Jim Armstrong

Hundreds of New Zealanders suffering from Dupuytren’s disease could ultimately regain the function of their hands and live normal lives, thanks to the work of the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute (GMRI).

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The GMRI lays foundation blocks for budding researchers


Former GMRI summer students, Nicholas On (left) and Sabrina Koh

Gillies McIndoe Research Institute (GMRI) summer students Sabrina Koh and Nicholas On have been working on medical research that could have an impact on millions of people world-wide.

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Publishing research is no small achievement


Former GMRI summer
student Chelsea Grant

It’s not every day a 22-year-old has their research findings featured in a leading international publication, the Journal of Clinical Pathology.

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GMRI honours ‘shapers of lives’

Lovie family

Dr Barbara Lovie (right), widow of the late Dr Max Lovie, commemorates the unveiling of his portrait with their children James, Sarah, Delisa and Caroline, and Dr Swee Tan

ackland family

Bill Ackland (left), widower of the late Christina (Tina) Ackland, celebrates the unveiling of her portrait with children James and Jane, and Dr Swee Tan

The eminent late plastic surgeon Dr Max Lovie and highly-regarded plastic surgery nurse, Christina (Tina) Ackland, whose work impacted on thousands of people, were honoured at the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute (GMRI) recently.

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GMRI advances in vascular birthmarks showcased at international conference


Dr Tinte Itinteang

Two years of hard work at the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute (GMRI) was presented recently on the world stage at the 21st International Workshop on Vascular Anomalies.

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GMRI files a patent relating to vascular birthmarks

venous malformation

A six-year old girl with venous malformation affecting the face

The Gillies McIndoe Research Institute (GMRI) is planting its “stake in the ground” in relation to its work on vascular birthmarks.

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GMRI student research ‘far-reaching’

Sam Siljeecrpd

Sam Siljee

Emily Kean

Emily Keane

The Gillies McIndoe Research Institute (GMRI) has demonstrated that supporting budding science and medical researchers can achieve significant benefits.

Sam Siljee and Emily Keane are two of those success stories; they have recently co-authored a research paper which Sam says “is far-reaching in terms of the understanding of venous malformation”.

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Summer student on the home stretch to being published

Max Blackwell

Max Blackwell

Max Blackwell enjoyed his first stint as a Gillies McIndoe Research Institute summer student so much that he applied for a second time.

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Graham Langridge, founding board member, honoured

graham langridge

Former GMF board member, Graham Langridge

The Gillies McIndoe Research Institute has honoured the late Graham Langridge, a long-time supporter and board member of the Gillies McIndoe Foundation (GMF), which established the GMRI, by establishing a scholarship to support PhD students.

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Summer students experience “a different world” at the GMRI


From the left, Elysia Tan, Sam Siljee, Therese Featherston, Nicholas On, Sabrina Koh, Helen Yu

An exceptional group of university students has participated in the 2015/16 Gillies McIndoe Research Institute’s summer student programme, sponsored by the Deane Endowment Trust.

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GMRI researchers discover process to treat excessive scarring

keloid copy

Keloid scar affecting a child following burns injury

Fibrotic conditions, characterised by excessive bodily scar formation, affecting various organ systems, currently do not have satisfactory treatment.

But that could be a thing of the past thanks to researchers at the GMRI.

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Medical pioneers honoured at the GMRI

Gillies and McIndoe function

A number of special guests, including the Minister of Health, the Hon. Dr Jonathan Coleman, attended the Sir Harold Delf Gillies and Sir Archibald McIndoe portrait unveiling

The ground-breaking work of internationally-recognised New Zealanders and pioneers of plastic surgery, Sir Harold Delf Gillies and Sir Archibald McIndoe, was recognised at a function hosted by the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute, at which the Minister of Health, the Hon. Dr Jonathan Coleman, unveiled specially-prepared portraits of the two men.

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Roger Donaldson to direct movie about Sir Archibald McIndoe

Roger Donaldson

The Guinea Pig Club director, Roger Donaldson

The life and work of pioneering plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe is to be made into a movie.

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Leading US medical researchers hosted by the GMRI


From left: Dr Paul Davis, Professor Martin Friedlander, Professor Sheila Friedlander, Dr Swee Tan, and Dr Tinte Itinteang

In October members of Wellington’s medical and scientific community and the public attended lectures by two world-renowned American biomedical researchers, courtesy of the GMRI.

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Strawberry birthmark research success continues

GMRI Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Dr Jonathan Dunne

The GMRI’s latest strawberry birthmark research was recently presented at the Human Proteome Organisation World Congress in Vancouver.

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Assault victim meets the surgeon who rebuilt his face

Peter Fisher visit

From left to right: Brian Fisher, Rebecca Dickinson, Dr Swee Tan, Peter Fisher, Noeline Fisher, Dr Tinte Itinteang (Courtesy of Maarten Holl – The Dominion Post)

A Martinborough man brutally beaten in 2012 has finally met the plastic surgeon who put his face back together.

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Adding another dimension to the GMRI


GMRI Honorary Research Associate, Dr Kusal Wickremesekera

The GMRI has attracted another highly regarded person to work on cancer stem cell research, while at the same time securing significant expertise in a major new field of surgical research.

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It’s little wonder the GMRI takes a radically different approach

By NZ First Health Spokesperson, Barbara Stewart, MP

Barbara Stewart NZ First Party and Phillip Wakefield at GMRI Oct 2015 ph...

From left: GMRI Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Tinte Itinteang, GMRI Senior Research Fellow, Dr Paul Davis, Advisor to Barbara Stewart MP, Philip Wakefield, NZ First Health Spokesperson, Barbara Stewart MP, Dr Swee Tan, and GMRI Board Chair, Paul Baines

I would first like to thank Dr Swee Tan and his team at the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute for inviting me to visit their fantastic facility to learn more about their exciting new research into cancer and other diseases. 

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GMRI celebrates All Blacks’ success

ab success

Pictured left to right with the prized lab coat are Research Technicians Kirsty Mayall, Alice Chibnall, and Amy Bradshaw; and Research Nurse, Vickie Cameron

GMRI staff joined thousands of Wellingtonians in celebrating the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup victory at the welcoming parade on 6 November.

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GMRI’s work exciting, outstanding and exceptional, say dignitaries

Hon Peter Dunne

Hon Peter Dunne

Staff at the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute were privileged to be visited by several local dignitaries in July, though the latter insist the pleasure was entirely theirs.

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The GMRI opens doors, says Research Associate

GMRI Honorary Research Associate, Dr Agadha Wickremesekera

GMRI Honorary Research Associate,
Dr Agadha Wickremesekera

The Gillies McIndoe Research Institute opens doors for future biomedical research, for research students, and for the future treatment of cancers, says GMRI Honorary Research Associate, Dr Agadha Wickremesekera.

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Former GMRI summer students gain Honours degrees

Ranui Baillie (left) and Lucy Sulzberger

Ranui Baillie (left) and Lucy Sulzberger

Two former participants in the GMRI’s summer students’ programme have just been awarded Bachelor of Medical Science (Hons) degrees from the University of Otago.

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