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BMW Provides Grant For Leukaemia Research

5 April, 2002

Groundbreaking research into the causes of childhood leukaemia, at the Otago University Cancer Genetics Laboratory, will move to a new level through a major grant from BMW New Zealand Ltd.

The company, which is a Cure Kids key partner, has underlined its commitment to research into childhood illnesses, by providing a $75,000 research fellowship to University of Otago junior research fellow, Kylie Drake.

Kylie is part of a team, headed by senior researcher Dr Ian Morison, which recently gained prominence for its claims that non-hereditary genetic effects may predispose children to acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

The discovery is being hailed as a significant breakthrough and confirms that parents have little to fear from environmental influences such as power lines or mobile telephone towers.

Kylie has chosen to study for her PhD, continuing the research under the supervision of Dr Morison. Her grant from BMW New Zealand Ltd makes it possible.

"I am so excited because it is getting more and more difficult to get scholarships for doctoral research," she says. "The BMW support means I can get on with it and hopefully make a real contribution in the prevention of child leukaemia."

Cure Kids Marketing Director, Kaye Parker, says the support from BMW New Zealand Ltd is invaluable.

"Talking to researchers I have discovered they have to spend far too much time looking for funding instead of carrying out research for much needed cures. Companies like BMW take the pressure off and we are delighted to have been able to facilitate this project which will enable Kylie and the team to get on with the job."

Ms Parker says Cure Kids provides the framework for companies to put their resources into much needed research and BMW New Zealand Ltd is a leader.

BMW Managing Director Geoff Fletcher Is equally excited about the
company's involvement. He says the company first came into contact with Cure Kids at the Compaq 50K of Coronet ski endurance race in Queenstown two years ago.

"We were impressed with what they were doing and since then we have played a significant role. By making this grant to Kylie we have made an even stronger commitment. Her research could well have far reaching effects and we are keen to be part of that."

Mr Fletcher believes more New Zealand businesses should be encouraged to assist with medical research. "It's putting something back into the community."


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