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Minister announces cancer researcher of the year

The Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research, Jillian Skinner, has awarded the state’s highest cancer research accolade to Professor Phyllis Butow, an Australian pioneer in psycho-oncology.


The 2012 Premier's Award for Outstanding Cancer Researcher was awarded at the Cancer Institute NSW's annual cancer awards night in Sydney to honour the work of the state's most innovative and dynamic cancer researchers.

"The work of Professor Butow means that people with cancer in NSW and around the world receive the information and support they need at what can be an extremely distressing time," Mrs Skinner said.

"Professor Butow has led the worldwide movement to make doctor-patient communication the highest possible standard for people with cancer. She has produced some of the first evidence that effective communication reduces anxiety and depression in people with cancer. Her work has made, and will continue to make, a significant difference to the lives of people with cancer and their loved ones," she said.

Professor Butow joins a list of esteemed past recipients of the award, including Professors Roger Reddel, Bruce Armstrong and Simon Chapman.

The Premier's Award for Excellence in Translational Cancer Research was awarded to the Child Cancer Research Collaborative, a team of three eminent Professors, Michelle Haber AM, Glenn Marshall and Murray Norris, who have developed a groundbreaking test to predict which children with leukaemia are at highest risk of relapse on standard therapy.

"This test means that children with leukaemia who are at the highest risk of relapse can be identified; and individual treatments can be introduced in newly diagnosed children to give them every chance against the disease recurring," said Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, Professor David Currow.

"The Child Cancer Research Collaborative is just one example of how NSW is leading the way when it comes to cancer research that makes a real difference to the lives of people with cancer today. Across the state, the Cancer Institute NSW is fostering collaboration  through our translational cancer research centres. These researchers are dedicated to putting an end to cancers as we know them, by developing treatments and breakthroughs that can be put into action throughout the health system," said Professor Currow.

Dr Steven Kao from the University of Sydney and Sydney Catalyst Translational Cancer Research Centre received the Premier's Award for Outstanding Cancer Research Scholar for his research concerning patient responses to mesothelioma therapies.

The Pfizer Studentship Award went to Emma Ramsay from the University of NSW for her research into a drug that inhibits the growth of tumours by inhibiting the cells responsible for the delivery of nutrients to the tumour.

Professor Richard Scolyer from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital received the Premier's Award for Outstanding Cancer Research Fellow for his work to improve the management and treatment of people with melanoma.

The Premier's Award for Innovation in Cancer Clinical Trials was awarded to Dr Craig Underhill from the Border Medical Oncology Research Unit for his work concerning clinical trials in the Murrumbidgee region for a range of cancers including prostate, colorectal, lung and melanoma.

The inaugural Wildfire Award went to the Pancreatic Cancer Research Group from the Garvan Institute for their research work to improve the current management of patients with pancreatic cancer.

The inaugural Make a Difference Award went to Professor Rob Sanson-Fisher from the University of Newcastle for his recent cancer prevention work focussed on disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, including reducing smoking among pregnant Aboriginal women.


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