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Last year I had a bowel cancer scare and a good mate required surgery and chemo for bowel cancer. Presently another mate is working his way through testicular cancer and in the past 18 months 2 former work colleagues have suffered breast cancer, another leukaemia.
We all know colleagues, family and friends who have also suffered the devastating impact of cancer in their lives.
The Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer is an opportunity to contribute to conquer cancer by funding research for the Queensland Institute of Medical Research to fight cancer. It will be a 2 day ride of 100km each day starting on 17 August 2013.
My goal is to raise at least $2,500.00.
Funds raised will support breakthrough research, exemplary teaching, and compassionate care at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, a worldwide leader in cancer research and discovery and one of the largest research institutes in the southern hemisphere.
Below is the result of last year’s ride – more than 1500 riders and almost 300 crew members raised an extraordinary $5.2 million for QIMR research in the second annual ride on August 18-19 last year.
These efforts have funded a range of new research projects at QIMR, with more to come.
BREAST CANCER – Nicole Cloonan and Jonathan Beesley
Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in Queensland women. One in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 1 in 40 will not survive it.
The diversity in breast cancer is staggering, making it extremely difficult to determine the cause. At least 100 different genetic variants are known to increase the risk of breast cancer. Part of the problem is the structural and molecular complexity of breast tissues, which are made up of at least four different cell types.
Nicole Cloonan and Jonathan Beesley will use their Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer grant to make genetic “maps” for the four major breast cell types, to better understand how the 100 genetic changes increase the risk of breast cancer. This research will provide information about the early warning signs and help determine which women are at higher risk of breast cancer.
Jonathan Beesley rode in the 2012 Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer.
OVARIAN CANCER – Dr Susan Jordan
Every year more than 1000 Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Because the cancer isn’t usually diagnosed until the disease has spread, five-year survival rates are less than 30%.
However, there have been few comprehensive population-based students into what factors influence survival.
Dr Susan Jordan will use her Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer grant to try to identify factors which can improve survival. She’ll undertake a detailed examination of clinical and demographic information from 1192 Australian women with ovarian cancer. In particular, she wants to find out whether variations in treatment make a difference, and whether socio-economic status or where women live affects survival rates.
This information will also be crucial for policy makers to ensure all Australians have access to appropriate health services
BREAST CANCER – Professor Andreas Moller
WATCH ANDREAS EXPLAIN HIS GRANT AT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxT5k8htj2I
Breast cancer affects one in eight women and every year almost 3000 Queensland women are diagnosed with the disease. About 500 Queenslanders will die each year, because the cancer has spread to vital organs, including the bones, brain, liver and lung.
Andreas Moller will use his Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer grant to investigate why the body allows the cancer to spread, and how the breast cancer communicates a message that the cancer cells should be welcomed, rather than fought. The “messages” are contained in specific structures called exosomes.
Andreas Moller aims to identify these message patterns in the blood, to try to predict whether the cancer will spread and identify ways to interfere and prevent the spread.
BREAST CANCER – Dr Adrian Wiegmans
WATCH ADRIAN EXPLAIN HIS GRANT AT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufmYG-Kj-cs
Every year about 13,000 Australian women will get breast cancer, and in 30-40 % of cases the cancer will metastasise, or spread.
QIMR has discovered that it is possible to starve breast cancer cells that have spread to the brain, bone and lung, by “turning off” a survival signal.
Adrian Wiegmans will use his Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer grant to work towards designing a drug that mimics this “off” switch and kills the cancer cells but not the normal, surrounding cells. A targeted drug of this type would reduce side effects for patients and drastically improve survival rates.
BREAST CANCER – Christina Wong
Every year about 13,000 Australian women will get breast cancer, and in 30-40 % of cases the cancer will metastasise, or spread.
Christina Wong will use her Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer grant to better understand how the cancer spreads to the brain and bones. She’ll develop a model to investigate the biological mechanisms involved in metastasis, and to be used for future drug testing.
STOMACH CANCER – Professor Georgia Chenevix-Trench
Stomach cancer is the fourth most common cancer, world-wide. In Queensland, it is the 5th and 6th most common cause of cancer death in women and men, respectively.
Professor Chenevix-Trench’s laboratory has identified a new, rare, inherited syndrome which makes a carpet of polyps develop in a person’s stomach, and increases their risk of developing fatal stomach cancer.
Professor Chenevix-Trench will use her Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer grant to work towards a genetic test for these patients, so they can take preventative measures. This research would also be the first step towards new stomach cancer drugs which would have broader application in the community.
Professor Georgia Chenevix-Trench rode in the 2012 Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer.
SMOKING-RELATED CANCERS – Lutz Krause
Tobacco smoking is the largest single preventable cause of death and disease in Australia. It kills 10,000 Australians each year; various cancers are responsible for 40% of those deaths.
Lutz Krause will use his Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer grant to provide new insights into how tobacco smoking modifies our genomes, leads to addiction, and causes cancer.
Lutz Krause rode in the 2012 Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer.
BOWEL CANCER – Graham Radford-Smith and Lisa Simms
WATCH GRAHAM EXPLAIN HIS GRANT AT: https://youtu.be/RvkZmacZa8Q
About 14,000 Australians get bowel cancer every year, with about 4,000 deaths, making bowel cancer the second most common internal cancer.
With increasing public awareness of bowel cancer, demand for colonoscopies is outstripping supply. More than 500,000 colonoscopies are performed in Australia each year, and waiting lists are growing.
Graham Radford-Smith and Lisa Simms will use their Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer grant to develop a simple way to prioritise who needs a colonoscopy. They’ll study 1000 people over two years, analysing their health information and blood and faecal tests, to develop a “risk score” for bowel cancer or inflammatory bowel disease. This score would determine the urgency of colonoscopy.
BOWEL CANCER – Dr Vicki Whitehall
Bowel cancer is the second most common internal cancer in Australia; about 14,000 people are diagnosed with bowel each year and about 4,000 die from the disease.
Dr Vicki Whitehall will use her Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer grant to identify the gene changes that cause a certain type of bowel cancer. This should increase understanding of how the cancer develops and lead to more targeted therapy in the future.
LEUKAEMIA – Dr Steven Lane
WATCH STEVEN EXPLAIN HIS GRANT AT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lB_LoVODHGQ
Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is an aggressive and rapidly fatal blood cancer affecting almost 1000 Australians every year. Despite chemotherapy, the disease usually relapses and no longer responds to treatment. Urgent new treatment options are desperately needed.
Steven Lane will use his Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer grant to research how leukaemia arises from normal blood cells. In particular, his team will focus on a gene called CDX2 which is found in 90% of cases of AML.
The project should provide new weapons in the fight against leukaemia, by identifying essential pathways in leukaemia cell survival.
Dr Lane rode in the 2012 Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer.
BLOOD CANCERS – Kelli MacDonald and Kate Markey
Blood cancers are responsible for about 10% of all cancers in Australia, and about 11% of all cancer deaths.
Stem cell transplantation is the most effective and common treatment for cancers like leukaemia and lymphoma. However, it comes with the risk of the devastating side-effect of graft-versus-host disease, which can be fatal.
Kelli MacDonald and Kate Markey have identified that a particular immune cell has a role to play in graft-versus-host disease, and will use their Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer grant to further their research into this pathway, and move towards clinical trials.
Kate Markey rode in the 2012 Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer.
CANCER VACCINES – Dr John Miles
WATCH JOHN EXPLAIN HIS RESEARCH AT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtZaU2lXQmM
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with at least 23 different cancers, including Nasopharyngeal carcinoma and both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. There is currently no commercial vaccine or anti-viral drugs for EBV infection or EBV-positive cancers.
John Miles will use his Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer grant to draw on cutting-edge technologies to advance his work into prototype EBV vaccines. In particular, he’s focussing on strengthening the body’s naturally-occurring T-cell sentinels which are our second and last line of defence against cancer.
PROSTATE CANCER – Carolin Offenhauser, Keyur Dave, Andrew Boyd, Jeff Gorman
WATCH CAROLIN EXPLAIN THEIR RESEARCH AT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53kHQ49ETF8
In Australia, 20,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year, and 3000 men die from the disease annually. If detected early, prostate cancer can be treated with surgery and/or radiotherapy. But when the cancer has spread, treatment options are limited. There is an urgent need for new molecular targets for late stage treatments.
Eph and ephrin proteins are already know to play a role in cancers like leukaemia, glioma and ovarian cancer and clinical trials targeting the Eph protein EphA3 in leukaemia are underway.
This research team will use their Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer grant to further investigate the role of these proteins in late stage prostate cancer, with a long-term view to developing new targets and treatments.
SKIN CANCER – Ken Dutton-Regester and Michael Gartside
WATCH KEN EXPLAIN THEIR WORK AT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7b1ucFezRg
Queensland has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world. The skin cancer becomes deadly when it spreads, or metastasises, and traditional cancer treatments become ineffective.
In recent years, a strategy known as “personalised medicine” has led to improved survival rates in late-stage melanoma. This new class of drugs targets the specific – and unique – genetic mutations driving the growth of a person’s cancer.
Ken Dutton-Regester and Michael Gartside will use their Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer grant to develop new, more comprehensive tests which will identify these genetic mutations more quickly and cheaply. If successful, these companion tests will help oncologists identify the best available drugs to treat patients.
Ken Dutton-Regester rode in the 2012 Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer.
BRAIN CANCER – ANDREA SCHUESSLER
WATCH ANDREA EXPLAIN HER WORK AT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fA7bmxQ6yS4
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is one of the most aggressive brain cancers, and is nearly always fatal. It kills about 1,000 Australians every year, most within two years of diagnosis.
Recent studies have shown that human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) – a dormant herpes virus found in up to 90% of the population – may play a role in the development of GBM.
Andrea Schuessler will use her Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer grant to investigate the precise role of a particular protein in HCMV, and whether it is responsible for the immune system’s inability to fight off the cancer.
PANCREATIC, BOWEL, ENDOMETRIAL CANCER AND MELANOMA – Vanessa Beesley
WATCH VANESSA EXPLAIN HER WORK AT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYjLteRK05I
The Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer has helped fund GO PRO – Getting the Most Out of Patient Reported Outcomes.
Vanessa Beesley will use her grant to investigate patients’ perceptions of the care available for people with pancreatic, bowel and endometrial cancer and melanoma. GO PRO will identify the specific support needs of these patients, what factors predict future unmet needs, and whether use of available support is appropriate for the level of distress being experienced.
GO PRO’s findings will provide fundamental patient information to Cancer Councils and other support providers with which to develop important support resources. This research will help health professionals prioritise their services, and predict and plan for ongoing needs or distress.
Thanking you – David Cormack