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HMRI researcher receives ACvA Game Changer Award for Cardiovascular Research Excellence

Feb 24 2023

Australia’s world-class cardiovascular and stroke researchers were honoured last night at the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance (ACvA) Excellence in Cardiovascular Research Awards. 

HMRI and University of Newcastle researcher, Professor Doan Ngo, was awarded the ACvA 2022 Game Changer Award that recognises innovative breakthroughs and the researchers who made them. 

Doan’s research focuses on identifying drugs that protect the heart from toxic side effects of cancer therapies without reducing their anti-cancer benefits.  

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. 

This means over two million Australian cancer survivors will develop cardiovascular disease, making it the leading cause of long-term morbidity and mortality among cancer survivors. 

Doan has discovered that the anti-cancer drug, Bizantrene, has simultaneous anti-cancer and cardioprotective properties. She’s validated this discovery in cells and animals and will undertake a clinical trial in collaboration with an industry partner, RACE oncology. 

This discovery could benefit millions of cancer patients worldwide to not only help treat cancer but to help protect patient’s cardiovascular health, post-cancer treatments.  

As Deputy Chair of the HMRI Heart and Stroke Research Program, Doan is committed to improving the outcomes for patients with heart failure through better understanding of mechanisms involved and discovering new biomarkers and therapies. 

Doan has also 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 invaluable improvements in patient outcomes and quality of life.