The Kinghorn Cancer Centre eNews Issue 6 – March 2011

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The Kinghorn Cancer Centre construction update

Work on the Centre site is progressing well. Excavation is now complete on the site and all large earth moving equipment has been removed. Concrete pouring for the car park levels has commenced with a half deck completed every seven days, which will see the Centre at ground level by April. 1400m3 of concrete has already been poured, and currently work is being done
on the Level 3 slab. This is the most crucial and complex level, as the building structure transitions from car park below to an open plan design above. The floor will be the thickest on this level with large reinforced beams to support the structure above.

Onwards and Upwards!

Cancer research news from Garvan

2011 has seen the arrival of two new Group Leaders recruited from overseas to boost The Kinghorn Cancer Centre’s cancer research capabilities. Dr Ilse Rooman from the Free University in Brussels has taken up her position as Head, Pancreatic Carcinogenesis and will work closely with Garvan’s Professor Andrew Biankin to understand how novel mutations identified in the International Cancer Genome Consortium Pancreatic Cancer Project contribute to the development and progression of pancreatic cancer. Their research will use novel cell biology and animal models brought to the Centre by Dr Rooman. At the end of 2010 Dr Rooman received a grant of $1.25 million from the Cancer Institute of NSW to establish her lab at the Garvan and Kinghorn Cancer Centre.

Another recruit, Dr Goli Samimi, arrived from the National Cancer Institute, USA. Dr Samimi is an expert in ovarian cancer and has trained in some of the best ovarian cancer labs in the USA including the University of California, San Diego, Harvard Medical School and National Institutes of Health. She will lead the joint Ovarian Cancer Project, a collaboration between the Garvan/Kinghorn Cancer Centre and the Gynaecological Cancer Centre, Royal Hospital for Women. Both new team leaders bring excellent new skills and expertise to the Cancer Centre and the campus and will complement existing expertise in basic and translational cancer research to further the Cancer Centre’s goals.

Cancer care news from St Vincent’s

The Kinghorn Cancer Centre has succeeded in obtaining its first competitive grant. Valued at $599,771, the Cancer Institute NSW funding takes the form of a Translational Health Services Grant.

Entitled Screening for Pancreatic Cancer in High Risk Australians, it brings together Chief Investigators Professor Andrew Biankin, from the Garvan and Professor Allan Spigelman from St Vincent’s, and includes Dr David Williams from St.Vincent’s and several cancer genetic clinicians and counsellors from other NSW hospitals.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in Western societies with an overall survival rate of less than five percent. Early detection and screening for cancer and precursor lesions of many organs has significantly improved outcomes, for example breast, colon and cervical cancer. When diagnosed and treated early, pancreatic cancer has a near 100 percent survival compared to the current overall survival rate of less than five percent.

While population based screening is not feasible for pancreatic cancer, recent studies suggest that screening individuals at high risk improves outcomes. In this study we align with international efforts to establish a screening research program for pancreatic cancer in NSW and integrate with existing efforts to advance the identification of cancer susceptibility genes.

Support in our community

Not one to be phased by a challenge, Tarne Usback chose climbing Africa’s highest mountain Kilimanjaro to raise money in memory of her dear friend David Kerr who passed away from
cancer in 2005. Her determination and courageous efforts to face the grueling physical challenge of climbing 5895 meters to the peak were rewarded on Christmas Day 2010, when she held David’s photo on the summit (see picture).

“As I took my photo of David out of my backpack for ‘our’ summit shot I thought how seriously underdressed he was, yet how proud he would be to be there with me,” said Tarne.

“Each painstaking step I took during the climb I thought about David and with his picture in my backpack I felt he was there to motivate me to be one of the small percent of people who manage to reach the summit,” she added.

With the generosity of family and friends Tarne raised $6,000 in support of The Kinghorn Cancer Centre. Tarne said: “I wanted to do something in David’s memory and at the same time raise funds for an Australian organisation dedicated to researching cures for disease with a reputation for outstanding breakthroughs. I hope it will bring us one step closer to finding a cure. I don’t ever want to lose another David.”