Professor Doan Ngo awarded for her game changing cancer discovery

NSW Regional Health Partners is thrilled to congratulate Professor Doan Ngo from the University of Newcastle and HMRI, on receiving the 2022 Game Changer Award at the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance (ACvA) Excellence in Cardiovascular Research Awards last week.

The award, presented by Hon Ged Kearney MP, Assistant minister for Health and Aged Care, commended Professor Ngo for her game changing discovery that the drug Bizantrene could be repurposed to treat cancer while sparing the heart from toxicity that can occur with other chemotherapy drugs.

Professor Ngo’s research is focussed on identifying drugs that protect the heart from the toxic side effects of cancer therapies without reducing their anticancer benefits.

Her breakthrough discovery that the drug Bizantrene has simultaneous anticancer and cardioprotective properties, could benefit millions of cancer patients around the world.

Cancer survivors are eight times more likely to develop cardiovascular conditions than the rest of the population as the use of anti-cancer drugs can be toxic to the heart.

It’s currently estimated that over two million Australian cancer survivors will develop cardiovascular disease, making it the leading cause of long-term morbidity and mortality among cancer survivors.

Professor Ngo’s powerful innovation will be tested in clinical trials in collaboration with an Industry partner, RACE oncology. 

In addition, Professor Ngo has been a key driver in establishing Australia’s first clinical cardio-oncology service that has served over 1500 patients in the last four years, leading to measurable improvements in patient outcomes and quality of life.

“Doan has been a champion for improving heart health for people living with and beyond cancer,” stated Nicolette Hodyl, Director of NSW Regional Health Partners.

“Doan’s research ranges from discovery of drugs, to screening of current medications to ensure they do not cause damage to the heart, to trialling new cancer treatments in the clinic to make sure they protect the heart from damage. We were very proud to support Doan’s nomination for this award, and look forward to working further with Doan and her team to improve the health for those affected by cancer living in regional and rural communities.”  

Professor Doan Ngo is currently the Co-director of the Newcastle Centre of Excellence in Cardio-oncology, Deputy Chair of the Hunter Medical Research Institute’s Heart & Stroke Program, a Professor and Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow.

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From left: Dr Giavanna Angeli (HMRI), Associate Professor Nicolette Hodyl (NSW Regional Health Partners), Hon Ged Kearney MP (Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care), Professor Aaron Sverdlov (University of Newcastle/HMRI/Hunter New England LHD), Professor Doan Ngo (University of Newcastle/HMRI) and Professor Chris Levi (Hunter New England LHD).