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Cancer Kids Calendar Helps Launch Research Lab

December 5
Cancer Kids Calendar Helps Launch Child Cancer Research Lab

The raising of nearly $50 thousand dollars through a calendar featuring children who have been treated for cancer has been vital in helping to establish a new laboratory at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Otago University, dedicated to research into child cancer.

The Child Cancer Research Group’s new laboratory is being officially opened on Friday December 5 by the Associate Minister of Health, Damien O’Connor.

Vicki O’Connor initiated the calendar, which raised the money to be presented on Friday at 2pm in the Beaven Lecture Theatre. The O’Connor’s four year old daughter Emily has been treated for cancer in the Children’s Haematology Oncology Centre, at Christchurch Hospital.

“Vicki’s effort in pulling it all together and publishing this wonderful calendar in just over three months has been absolutely fantastic and will make a major difference to our laboratory,” says Paediatric Oncologist Dr Michael Sullivan.

“The calendar has really caught the attention of the public, and parents of children with cancer. We have all been surprised by the amount of interest it’s generated. She’s also had great support from the business community especially Soild Energy, Holcim, Westpac and Courier Post.”

The Child Cancer Research Group has also been generously supported by the Child Cancer Foundation which has donated $35 thousand dollars for much of the equipment needed. Several local charities have also been very supportive including the Deane Endowment Trust, the Robert McClelland trust and the Nicola Robinson Trust.

The laboratory is already up and running with research into neuroblastoma and hepatoblastoma, being undertaken by Dr Sullivan and three scientists at the School. The aim is to improve diagnosis of these tumours to enable better analysis of clinical options and treatments, particularly to those neuroblastomas which can spread aggressively through the body.

“We believe that excellence in clinical care is best achieved by research, and research done locally, further enhancing the care of our young patients” says Dr Sullivan.

“Although at this stage we are a small team, one of the advantages is that we can draw on the expertise of several research groups and dozens of other medical scientists and clinicians at the School of Medicine, who have worked in cancer research for many years. “

Following the introduction and presentation in the Beaven Lecture Theatre (seventh floor), guests and media are invited to visit the laboratory for a briefing on the research (approx. 2.30pm). Drinks and nibbles will then be served in the Medici Café at the School.


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