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.

Professor Morrison, who is based in Melbourne, has had a highly distinguished career in plastic surgery, particularly in reconstructive microsurgery and hand surgery, and has more recently been pioneering research into the use of fat stem cells in tissue engineering.

GMRI Executive Director Dr Swee Tan said it was a privilege to have Professor Morrison in Wellington again as he has long been a supporter of the GMRI and spoke at its launch in 2009. We were able to show Professor Morrison the progress we have made on our stem cell research, especially in relation to cancer stem cells, as well as give him a tour of the GMRI’s  laboratories.

Professor Morrison spoke on Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon programme and said the progress that the GMRI had made in cancer stem cell research was “extraordinary”, and that it was the “most exciting thing I’ve heard in a long, long time.”

Dr Tan said the highlight of the visit was Professor Morrison’s stimulating address, titled Fat Much Maligned: Stem Cells in Health and Disease, to a well-attended public lecture of our friends and supporters, hosted by the GMRI.

“Professor Morrison provided a fascinating account of the evolution of plastic surgery from the pioneering macrosurgery performed by Sir Harold Gillies during World War I, to the advent of microsurgery in the 1970s and, more recently, the exciting new prospects he is pioneering in molecular surgery, using fat stem cells to grow new tissues,” Dr Tan said.

Professor Morrison noted that while both he and the GMRI were focused on stem cells, he was using the “good guys” while the GMRI were going after the “bad guys” – cancer stem cells.

A number of media outlets were also interested in Professor Morrison’s visit and his association with the GMRI. You can read more from The Dominion Post here, or listen to Professor Morrison’s full interview on Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon show here.

Dr Tan said he wanted to thank all of the GMRI’s supporters and friends who attended the lecture as well as the Mayor of Wellington, Justin Lester, for opening the occasion.