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Otago scientist leads NZ's hunt for cancer cure

Media Release from the Royal Society of New Zealand

22 February 2000

Otago scientist leads New Zealand’s hunt
for cancer cure

An Otago scientist is leading New Zealand’s hunt for a cure for cancer after being awarded a James Cook Research Fellowship.

President of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Sir John Scott announced today that
Dr Michael Eccles, a senior research fellow and principal investigator in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Otago, is one of four researchers to be awarded a two year Fellowship by the Society.

When receiving his Fellowship Dr Eccles said his goal was to develop gene-based cancer treatments that would result in new reagents and drugs to combat cancer.

“This is a definite long term goal I have. However, over the next two years I will be concentrating on developing new methodologies in cancer research using the latest technology,” he said.

“By developing these new methodologies we will come a step closer to combating cancer.”

Dr Eccles plans to utilise the latest million dollar micro-array equipment recently purchased by the University of Otago.

“This very recent technological revolution can be compared with the revolution that took place with the introduction of molecular biology and DNA sequencing some 25 years ago,” he said.

“By utilising this equipment, my research will keep New Zealand at the top of this area of international research.

“The James Cook Research Fellowship is of immense help to my research, by giving me the time and resources to further my work. Generally, it is tremendously important that research is well funded in New Zealand.

“We have world research leaders here and our research infrastructure is vital to keep our leading researchers in New Zealand and to channel overseas researchers to this country,” Dr Eccles said.

For further information contact:
Dr Michael Eccles, wk 03 479 7878, hm 03 489 3282 (after 22 March 2000)
Sue Usher, Executive Officer, The Royal Society of New Zealand, 04 472 7421

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