Celebrating our regional cancer researchers

We are taking a moment to appreciate the incredible research presented at the recent NSW Cancer Research Conference 2023 by the amazing cancer researchers and PhD students from across the NSW Regional Cancer Research Network.  

Below, we have highlighted some of the outstanding presentations, from research working to improve cancer outcomes, diagnosis, treatment, care and prevention.  

Dr Rebecca Wyse (University of Newcastle) – Rebecca explores digital health intervention strategies to help empower women to have the best recovery outcomes following breast cancer surgery. These digital tools help patients follow nutrition, exercise, and well-being recommendations, leading to shorter hospital stays and better quality of life after surgery.

Kirsty Baxter (MNCLHD) – Kirsty identified the need to create a nurse practitioner role to manage metastatic cancer to combat the projected increase of cancer care visits at the Mid North Coast Cancer Institute. The nurse practitioner will also introduce services to provide holistic care for patients. Kristy is exploring the development of a satellite clinic in a regional hospital that can provide more equitable access for cancer treatment.

Joshua Bennetts (University of Newcastle) – Joshua’s PhD research explores whether existing risk factors for heart disease are linked to higher chances of cardiac hospitalisation in patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors, a type of cancer immunotherapy that’s showing promise in various cancer treatments.

Dr Michelle Wong-Brown (University of Newcastle, HMRI) – Dr Brown is studying how women with ovarian cancer respond to chemotherapy. She’s particularly interested in repurposing the drug teniposide to create a timely and cost-effective therapy for chemoresistant high grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC).

Bayley Matthews (University of Newcastle) – Bayley’s PhD research is focused on repurposing drugs known as PARP inhibitors, which have shown to be effective as a first line and maintenance therapy for patients with high grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC). PARP plays a crucial role in DNA repair, affecting various DNA repair pathways affected by cancer treatment.

Amiee Dowdell (University of Newcastle, HMRI) – Amiee’s PhD research, funded by the Mark Hughes Foundation, delves into Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a devastating and lethal brain cancer. Her work focuses on understanding the role of neurotrophic factors and their receptors in cancers.

Dr Moira Graves (University of Newcastle, HMRI) – Moira is investigating CXCL16 as a potential biomarker of tumour aggression in glioblastoma. Moira is also exploring its role in tumour recurrence.

Dongqing Kelly Chen (University of Newcastle) – PhD Student Dongqing is looking at the association between a commonly used anticancer drug (doxorubicin) and the development of heart problems, to understand further how altering DNA repair pathways can protect the heart from various forms of chronic myocardial injury.

Dr Tatt Jhong Haw (University of Newcastle, HMRI) – Tatt is studying potential treatments for carfilzomib-induced heart problems, a side effect of anticancer treatment used for multiple myeloma and other solid tumours.

Conagh Kelly (University of Newcastle, HMRI) – PhD Student Conagh is aiming to identify common mechanisms of heart problems induced by different chemotherapies like anthracyclines (Doxorubicin) and proteasomal inhibitors (Carfilzomib), and understand the gene changes associated with their use.

Dr Lohis Balachandran (University of Newcastle, HMRI) – Lohis is exploring which cancer treatments might inadvertently cause damage to the heart and investigating the direct effects of chemotherapies on cardiomyocyte viability.

Dr Jonathan Goodwin (Calvary Mater Newcastle, University of Newcastle) – Jonathan is focused on optimising radiation treatments for prostate cancer, ensuring accurate targeting using gold seed fiducial markers inserted into the prostate for precise imaging during radiation planning.

Congratulations to all the NSW Regional Cancer Research Network researchers who presented their work at the NSW Cancer Research Conference: Professor Pradeep Tanwar, Kirsty Baxter, Professor Christine Paul, Dr Alexandra Smith, Dr Rebecca Wyse, Joshua Bennetts, Dr Michelle Wong-Brown, Bayley Matthews, Amiee Dowdell, Dr Moira Graves, Kaylee O’Brien, Suzzanna Fettell, Dongqing Kelly Chen, Tatt Jhong Haw, Conagh Kelly, Lohis Balachandran,  Dr Jonathan Goodwin, Professor Mike Fay, Kelsey Maddison, Mark Marsland, Joanne Marsland, Dr Xiaohong Zhao, Dr Mathew Lozinski, Amanda Croft, Professor Jennifer Martin, Cass White, and Dr Luiza Steffens Reinhardt.