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Cancer council grants for young researchers

Friday, 23 March 2012

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ECU researchers are among the winners of this year’s Cancer Council Western Australia Research Grants.

The grants are part of a record $2.7 million in funding provided by the Council, which aims to support the work of WA’s best and brightest young cancer researchers.

The winning researchers, Dr Prue Cormie and Dr Michael Baker from the ECU Health and Wellness Institute and Dr Sandra Medic from the School of Medical Sciences will use the funding to further develop their research into live-saving cancer research.

Dr Cormie has been awarded a $225,000 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship over three years to examine exercise as medicine in the management of cancer.

“At present we know that exercising is very beneficial for cancer patients and survivors but there’s so much more to learn about the most effective exercise prescription, especially considering the large variety of cancer types, disease stages and the therapies involved with its treatment,” Dr Cormie said.

The Fellowship will help fund a number of trials run by Dr Cormie, which involve looking at more than 1,000 patients affected by a range of different cancers.

Dr Baker has been awarded the Suzanne Cavanagh Early Career Investigator Grant, worth $24,000, which will allow him to look at the effect of whole-body vibration therapy on bone loss in breast cancer survivors.

The funding will allow him to recruit 50 women into a trial, run over a 12-week period, during which time he will track the changes in women’s bone density using blood samples.

Dr Medic has also been awarded a Suzanne Cavanaugh Early Career Investigator Grant for her research, which looks at the development of melanomas, in particular the protein PAX 3.

Her project aims to understand how melanoma progresses so that researchers can then develop more effective and targeted treatment methods.

“The grant gives me a fantastic opportunity and I hope it will present a path to develop my own research career,” Dr Medic said.

Recognition also goes to students Adam Hand from the School of Engineering and Greg Levin from the School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science. Mr Hand received a Honours Scholarship for his research into understanding the functioning of melanoma cancer cells. Mr Levin was the recipient of a PhD Top Up Scholarship for his research into improving the quality of life of cancer survivors.

For more information and to view the full list of recipients visit the Cancer Council website.

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