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Scientist Tackles Tumours And Wins Kudos

29 September 2010

Scientist Tackles Tumours And Wins Kudos

Dr Marianne Susan Elston’s great discoveries about the development of tumours have won her the Emerging Scientist Award- sponsored by ORBIT Calder & Lawson- at last week’s Kudos Awards in Hamilton.

Dr Elston’s work concerns the identification of genes involved in the development of pituitary (pea-sized gland situated at the base of the brain which makes growth hormone) tumours. Pituitary tumours make up about 10-15% of all brain tumours. Most are benign but can still cause significant health problems and shorten life-expectancy because of over- or under-production of hormones and due to mass effect e.g. causing blindness.

Dr Elston identified a differentiation in the gene WIF1, which is an important gene in the control of development and cell growth. She discovered that when she replaced the WIF1 in the cell lines, the tumor growth was slowed. “This discovery suggested that WIF1 is a tumour suppressor gene and for example this gene may be involved in helping to prevent tumours from forming” explained Dr Elston.

“This research took a number of years and many, many hours in the lab. Making these discoveries was very exciting and being recognised for this work is like the icing on the cake” says Dr Elston.

Dr Elston’s research findings were published in significant peer-reviewed journals, which gained her international attention. She also presented her research at both national and international conferences. Subsequently she is involved in collaboration with a leading UK-based pituitary research group to further investigate familiar pituitary tumour families.

The Emerging Scientist Award- sponsored by ORBIT Calder & Lawson- recognises a major and recent contribution toward advancing a person's emerging career in science.
The Kudos Awards celebrated Waikato’s finest scientists and science educators at an Awards presentation and dinner evening held on the 23rd of September at Southwell Auditorium, Hamilton. The Kudos Awards recognise the region’s most innovative science research and discoveries over six categories, including agricultural, environmental, medical, science educator, emerging scientist and lifetime achievement.

The winner’s cash prizes are used to further develop science and research throughout Hamilton and the Waikato region, and are sponsored by; Hamilton City Council, University of Waikato, Wintec, WEL Networks, Waikato District Health Board, Waikato Times, King Street Advertising, and Orbit Calder & Lawson. Other supporters include Plant and Food Research, McFarlane Engels & Associates, and AWIS (Association of Women in Science).


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