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.

Our clinical trial on glioblastoma, a severe brain cancer, is underway. Last year we received much-appreciated funding support from Hugo Charitable Trust to start the second clinical trial to treat patients with malignant melanoma, which has commenced. The other two trials we have approval for are mouth cancer and metastatic head and neck squamous skin cancer. Subject to funding being available, we consciously chose to trial our novel cancer treatment on these very aggressive cancers.

We’ve made very good progress in a short time, but we need more funding to continue the clinical trial programme and establish if the treatment works.  We’re very thankful to everyone who has contributed and who continue to contribute to our ongoing research.

A radical approach, a new method of treatment

We want to fundamentally change the way we look at cancer and how it is treated. The GMRI is seeking to find a way to treat cancer that is affordable and less intrusive than conventional approaches.

Our novel cancer treatment targets cancer stem cells by controlling the renin-angiotensin system using a combination of low-cost, commonly available, oral medications. This is very different to conventional treatment. What we have discovered from our research in strawberry birthmarks has given us insights into cancer.

The cancer stem cell concept proposes that cancer stem cells are the origin of cancer. Cancer stem cells produce cancer cells like queen bees in a beehive, giving rise to worker bees. Cancer stem cells can move away to form secondary tumours like queen bees can move away to set up other beehives.

At the Congress, Professor Frank Frizelle, a colorectal surgeon from Christchurch, spoke on gut bacteria playing a role in the development of colon cancer. He found that a toxin produces a strain of bacteroides fragilis (a bacteria commonly found in the human gut) that occurs more commonly in the colon of patients with colon cancer. Certain environmental change might cause cells to transform into cancer stem cells. This is consistent with what we have found and our observations relating to the cancer stem cell concept.

How to donate

We’re always looking for philanthropic, business, and other donations so we can continue our important work. You can make one-off or regular donations, or you could even consider making us a beneficiary of your estate or family trust.


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