International spotlight on translational cancer research

Oct 22 2013

Translational Cancer Research Conference

Four of North America’s leading cancer researchers will give keynote presentations at the international Translational Cancer Research Conference in Newcastle from tomorrow until Friday.

Professor Lawrence Green from the University of California, Professor Mark Ratain from the University of Chicago, Professor Sharon Straus from the University of Toronto (Canada) and Professor Srdan Verstovsek from the University of Texas will join a renowned list of speakers from Australia.

The multidisciplinary conference has been organised by HMRI Hunter Cancer Research Alliance researchers with the aim of fostering new targeted approaches to cancer treatment and improving communication channels between scientists and clinicians.

“The goal is to choose therapies that affect the disease more and the patient less,” conference convenor Professor Stephen Ackland, Director of the HCRA, said. “Clinicians need to understand where basic scientists are coming from and what findings are in the pipeline, and vice versa.

“We have assembled a top-class group of speakers and will have delegates representing the full spectrum of cancer research. I’m hoping to achieve a greater awareness of what translational research means, and a greater understanding of the terminology that people from different disciplines use.”

Professor Green is a world-renowned expert on the behavioural aspects of health services and public health; Professor Ratain is a haematologist/oncologist with expertise in the pharmacogenomics of anticancer agents; Professor Straus’s specialty fields include epidemiology and health informatics, while Professor Verstovsek works in the Department of Leukaemia with a focus on evaluating novel therapeutics.

A free public lecture will be held at Newcastle City Hall on Wednesday (October 23) starting at 5.45pm with Professor Paul Waring, Chair of Pathology at The University of Melbourne. His topic is ‘Personalised cancer medicine for all: The goal of translational cancer research’.

Among senior University of Newcastle researchers presenting are breast cancer specialist Professor John Forbes, cell biologist and proteomics expert Professor Hubert Hondermarck, Laureate Professor Rob Sanson-Fisher who is known for successfully applying behavioural science to cancer control, cancer geneticist Professor Rodney Scott, and Professor Xu Dong Zhang who is working on metastatic melanoma.

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HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.