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Breast Cancer Research Trust announces new grants

The Breast Cancer Research Trust announces new grants

The Breast Cancer Research Trust has announced new research grants worth more than $660,000. The recipients are Dr Rhonda Rosengren, Senior Lecturer, University of Otago and Dr Raymond Simpkin, Senior Scientist, Industrial Research Limited and Dr. Cris Print, Associate Professor at the University of Auckland.

Dr Rosengren’s research into novel therapies for estrogen receptor negative Breast Cancer will receive a grant of $133,000. The research into the use of hormones for controlling growth of breast cancer cells seeks to identify anti-cancer and anti-growth properties. It is proposed to use these compounds in early clinical trials in women with breast cancer.

Dr Simpkin’s work on the use of radar scanning for the early detection of breast cancer will receive funding of $250,000. His work is assisting the search for a new screening tool to replace mammography, which currently misses 20% of breast cancers. The aim is to build a smaller prototype of the current research prototype which is being used in clinical trials to identify breast cancer in women.

A $277,000 grant has been made to Dr. Print for his project involving a new technique known as gene network analysis. The study seeks to understand how breast cancer cells function while mapping the molecular signals that drive the growth, invasion and metastases of malignant breast tumours. The ultimate aim is to reveal the cause and effect interactions that regulate cell function.

The BCRT’s medical advisory panel assessed a range of annual applications before making the above grants, said BCRT Trustee and member of the Trust’s medical advisory panel, Dr John Harman. The other members of BCRT’s medical advisory panel include Dr Pat Alley, Professor of Ethics, Director of Clinical Training, Waitemata District Health Board and Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Auckland School of Medicine, Professor Iain Martin Dean of Medical & Heath Sciences, University of Auckland, Dr Nicole McCarthy, Medical Oncologist at the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital and Dr Jackie Blue MP, National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman.

BCRT Chairman, Alison Taylor, says the grants represent BCRT’s commitment to accelerating breast cancer research in New Zealand and to finding an eventual cure for the disease. In thanking BCRT sponsors and supporters at a function in Auckland today (ed. 18 May), Ms Taylor said the latest initiatives were crucial to discovering why New Zealand women present with one of the highest rates of breast cancer in the world..


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