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Biggest year yet for Canterbury medial research

Biggest year yet for Canterbury medial research

Medical research in Canterbury is set for its biggest year in more than 40 years .

The Canterbury Medical Research Foundation has earmarked up to $1 million for detailed contestable health research – the most it has ever allocated in 41 years, foundation director Guy Johnson said today.

Most of the funds come from bequests and donations.

Mr Johnson said the foundation usually had about $450,000 to spend annually on research but extra bequest funding meant they would pour more than ever before into medical research.

``One of our biggest achievements for 2003 will be the establishment of a Parkinsons disease centre from the funds from the late Cas van der veer estate.

``A professorial chair in Parkinsons Disease at the Christchurch School of Medicine will be funded and this will include running a clinic for Parkinsons disease patients in conjunction with the Christchurch Hospital,’’ he said.

Having a special clinic will lesson the waiting time for patients greatly.

Plans are in the pipeline to include this centre in a larger brain and movement disorder research group which will be the Brain Research Institute and include specialty research into strokes epilepsy and related diseases Last year the foundation funded 11 major projects covering research into breast cancer, asthma, leptospirosis, pulmonary thrombosis, anaesthetics, hypoxic training for athletes, heart, bone marrow transplantation, cardiovascular disease, depression and pregnancy and mental disorders.

The foundation also saw the first of the special bowel cancer appeal funds being allocated with major grants going to research into vaccine for treatment of bowel cancer, colon cancer and the first bowel cancer register.

Over the summer break, the foundation also funded 10 tertiary medical students on scholarships to give them experience research first hand under the supervision of a senior researcher for the summer vacation.

It also backed foundation fellow Dr Richard Gearry for three years for his research into bowel cancer.

The cot death fellowship, Malvina Major paedeatric nursing scholarship and funds for 20 researchers to travel to conferences to give presentations on their research was also funded by the foundation last year.

``We also worked with all tertiary institutes to set up a Health Research Institute under the umbrella of our foundation,’’ Mr Johnson said.

``We are the major player in funding and promoting health research in Canterbury and this will be a landmark year for us,’’ he said.

In March, the foundation expects to raise more than $25,000 in funds at their annual wine auction

Note: The CRMF was established in 1960 to raise money for health research in Canterbury To date, millions of dollars have been allocated to support numerous fields of research in the Canterbury region.

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