Professor John Simes is the 2016 NSW Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year, recognised for enabling over 80,000 people to access new and emerging cancer treatments.
He was honoured at the 2016 NSW Premier’s Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research on Friday, 5 August with the pinnacle of eight awards presented to researchers from around the state.
Professor Simes established the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre (CTC) at the University of Sydney in 1988, now leading a workforce of 150 staff both nationally and internationally.
Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, Professor David Currow, says clinical trials are vital in turning the latest research into new treatments for people with cancer.
“In his role at the Clinical Trials Centre alone, Professor Simes has played a leading role in over 130 multi-centre trials with over 80,000 patients,” Professor Currow says.
“These trials have led to major advances in care for patients with cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes as well as significant improvements in neonatal care.”
The Awards recognise all researchers across NSW who dedicate their lives to making a difference to people with cancer.
“It is important to applaud our cancer researchers whose commitment and talent is continually seeing research findings being translated from the lab into novel treatments for people with cancer,” Professor Currow says.
“Year-on-year we continue to see a growing community of researchers working together to end cancers as we know them.
“Through the continued collaboration of leading research and clinical institutes, we are building a single state-wide research community like no other across Australia.”
Advancing research in pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer research was a major focus of the evening, with several awards recognising developments in reducing the impact of the disease.
Professor Minoti Apte OAM of the Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research at UNSW received the prestigious Professor Rob Sutherland AO ‘Make a Difference’ Award.
Professor Apte, the 2015 NSW Woman of the Year, is developing insights into pancreatic cancer, leading to the development of a number of novel therapies for the disease.
The award is dedicated to the memory of the late Professor Rob Sutherland AO, an internationally recognised cancer researcher, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2012.
Also honoured for her work on pancreatic cancer was Dr Zaklina Kovacevic from the University of Sydney.
Dr Kovacevic received the Outstanding Cancer Research Fellow Award for her work on a novel class of drugs targeting the NDRG1 gene in pancreatic cancer.
“The quality of research being done by all of this year’s winners is of the highest calibre and it is my honour to congratulate them on their outstanding achievements,” said Professor Currow.
The full list of awards includes:
- Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year – Professor John Simes – $50,000
- The Professor Rob Sutherland AO Make a Difference Award – Professor Minoti Apte OAM – $20,000
- Excellence in Translational Cancer Research – Dr Natalie Taylor and Team, Australian Institute of Health Innovation Behaviour Change Research Stream – $20,000
- The 'Wildfire' Highly Cited Publication Award – Dr James Wilmott – $20,000
- Innovation in Cancer Clinical Trials – Central Coast Local Health District – $20,000
- Outstanding Cancer Research Fellow of the Year – Dr Zaklina Kovacevic – $20,000
- The 'Rising Star' PhD Student Award – Dr Andrew Chen – $10,000
- Big Data, Big Impact Grant, Stage 2 – A/Professor Daniel Catchpoole and Team, The Sydney Children’s Hospital Network – $150,000
Visit 2016 Premier’s Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research for more information on all of the winners.