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.
We’re testing commonly-used and low-cost medications in our clinical trial of novel brain cancer treatment
Our 3-year brain cancer (glioblastoma) study began in March. Patients are being treated with a combination of medications, most of which GPs prescribe daily for common conditions. This trial is the first to study the effects on cancer by targeting cancer stem cells using these medications. If successful, this approach could transform the way cancer is treated, potentially prolonging patients’ lives and improving their quality of life. Subject to funding being available, we hope to start treating some other cancer types next year. We’re very grateful to Hugo Charitable Trust for their generous donation of $300,000 towards our proposed melanoma cancer treatment clinical trial.
We’ve shared our insights and learnt from our international colleagues
I’m very proud of what our team, collaborators, and students have achieved on the global stage at conferences this year. We’re part of international efforts to solve unsolved medical problems — cancer, vascular birthmarks, and fibrotic conditions.
We presented 29 papers on our work at international conferences in the past year. In May, summer student Elysia Tan presented her paper about venous malformation at a conference in Amsterdam and Sabrina Koh, another summer student, shared her research on skin cancer at a conference in Sydney. In July, Dr Jun Kwon, a plastic surgery trainee, won the Poster of Excellence Prize for his research on mouth cancer at an international head and neck cancer conference.
We welcome our summer students
University holidays have already begun, which means we have the pleasure of welcoming five new summer students into our laboratory — Olivia Buchanan, Ethan Kilmister, Bridget Milne, Claudia Paterson, and Vithushiya Yoganandarajah. We are very grateful to Sir Roderick and Lady Gillian Deane for their ongoing support of our summer student programme.
We’re grateful for every donation — each one makes a difference
I’d also like to thank everyone who has made a donation or has been involved in fundraisers throughout the year. These include the Upper Hutt Cossie Club, who donated $65,000, and the Parawai-Waikanae Lions Club’s donation of $3,500 from the Waikanae Book Fair. I wish to record our sincere thanks to Jed Crawford for raising funds for the GMRI in honour of his dad, Keith Crawford, who died from brain cancer. Jed shaved his head to raise $27,500 in support of our glioblastoma clinical trial. The New Zealand Community Trust continues to be a generous supporter, contributing $172,000 this year, for which we are very appreciative.
We are saying farewell in February to our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Tinte Itinteang. Tinte has been a highly valued member of our team for 10 years. He has decided to leave the GMRI and return to Kiribati to be with his elderly parents. Tinte’s intellectual brilliance has enabled us to approach complex medical science in new ways. We thank Tinte for the tremendous contribution he has made and wish him well in his future endeavours. We have begun an international search for Tinte’s replacement.
Next year brings new challenges that we want to share with you
The GMRI team is looking forward to forging ahead with our research and cancer treatment clinical trial in 2019. We’ll keep you up to date on Facebook and through our newsletters. Sign up to receive the latest news if you haven’t already!
With our very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a successful 2019.
Dr Swee Tan ONZM MBBS FRACS PhD