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Calendar Boost For Children’s Cancer Research

Sept 27 2004

Calendar Boost For Children’s Cancer Research

The launch of the ‘2005 Cancer Research For Kids Calendar’ on Friday October 1st will be another significant boost for children’s cancer research at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago.

The funds from the sale of the calendar, which features children who have undergone cancer treatment, is expected to top $80,000, and will all go to the Children’s Cancer Research Group based at the School.

Dr Michael Sullivan Director of the Research Group says that Vicky O’Connor from Westport has once again done a superb job pulling the whole project together and raising sponsorship. The O’Connor’s daughter, Emily, was diagnosed with cancer when she was two.

“The Calendar has had a huge impact on being able to develop our Research Group,” he says. “I really believe the only way to improve the outcome for children with cancer is by research and I hope that our research will make a difference in the future”. However it is very difficult to get funding for new initiatives. While we already have tremendous support from the Child Cancer Foundation, money from this year’s edition will enable new projects to start and others continue”, he says.

Some of the new research undertaken by the Group will investigate:

Bio-markers for treatment-related heart disease in children with cancer. Chemotherapy can have side effects in terms of heart damage and this research is aimed at identifying signals in the blood which give early indication of this happening.

The effect of chemotherapy on bone development in children.

A nursing project investigating improving nursing care of child cancer patients.

The financing of an additional PhD student and extra equipment for the laboratory.

Meanwhile ongoing projects are examining genetic signatures in tumours to allow better targeting of treatment, and secondly genetic pathways in the development of childhood cancers. Another significant development has been membership of the Children’s Oncology Group in the USA which will allow important new data from clinical trials to be used by local researchers.

The Dean of the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Professor Ian Town, is delighted by the progress of the Children’s Cancer Research Group in recent years, and wishes to thank all sponsors of the latest calendar and the outstanding effort by Vicky O’Connor in particular.

“We’re extremely lucky to have this superb research group at the School. Their research translates directly into better quality health care for South Island children with cancer,” he says.

The launch of the ‘2005 Cancer Research For Kids Calendar’ will take place on Friday October 1, 11am at the Scenic Circle Cotswold Hotel, 88 Papanui Road, Christchurch, where families, sponsors and friends will gather. Families will also be invited to visit the Children’s Cancer Research Group laboratory at the School between 10am and 11am.


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