Western Australian medical researchers working to improve the lives of cancer patients are among 10 new talents to receive a slice of $100,000 in State Government grants.
Health Minister Jim McGinty said 10 grants of $10,000 each had been awarded to help support cutting-edge research into areas including cancer, childhood illness and obesity.
“These grants provide research infrastructure support for outstanding new medical and health researchers in Western Australia,” Mr McGinty said.
“The winners can use the money for resources essential to supporting quality projects or programs that further their research.”
Mr McGinty said four of this year’s winners were researching ways to help cancer patients and to better understand the disease. They are:
· Assoc Professor Martin Ebert, Department of Radiation Oncology, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, for his work to assess and develop technologies in cancer therapy;
· Dr Anna Nowak, School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, for research into malignant mesothelioma and brain tumours;
· Associate Professor Anne Williams, Western Australian Centre for Cancer and Palliative Care, Curtin University of Technology, for research into how complementary cancer therapies increase the emotional and physical comfort of cancer patients; and
· Dr Elizabeth Milne, UWA Centre for Child Health Research/Telethon Institute for Child Health Research for research into how dietary, environmental and genetic factors may be related to the risk of childhood cancers.
“In 2006, there were 9,692 new cases of cancer in WA and 3,570 deaths due to cancer,” Mr McGinty said.
“Breakthroughs in cancer prevention and treatment will help many thousands of cancer sufferers and their families.
“We need to encourage our researchers to stay in WA, and to work towards advances that have the potential to improve the health of not only Western Australians but people around the world.”
Other winners were:
· Dr Leon Adams, School of Medicine & Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, for his research into liver fibrosis treatments in patients with chronic liver disease;
· Dr Andrew Currie, School of Paediatrics & Child Health, University of Western Australia, who is investigating why newborns, especially those born premature, are at risk of developing serious infection;
· Dr Graeme Polglase, School of Women’s and Infants’ Health, University of Western Australia, for research into the cause and treatment of chronic lung disease in preterm infants;
· Dr David Preen, School of Population Health, University of Western Australia, for his public health research including chronic disease management and clinical interventions for morbid obesity;
· Dr Oliver Rackham, Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, for his work into re-engineering bacteria for use as microscopic drug factories; and
· Dr Anita Van Den Biggelaar, UWA Centre for Child Health Research/Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, for work to optimise vaccination strategies and reduce the high burden of vaccine preventable infectious diseases in early life.
The State Government initiated the New Independent Researcher Infrastructure Support Awards in 2001. Since then, $745,000 in grants has been won by 59 recipients.
The NIRIS awards are a component of the Medical and Health Research Infrastructure Fund which promotes excellence in health and medical research in WA. Through the fund, almost $40million in grants have been given to leading researchers since 1997.
The Minister said the State Government was committed to continued investment in medical research.
“Increased funding will help keep WA at the forefront of medical research and could lead to breakthroughs that will improve the health of all Western Australians,” he said.
More information about the New Independent Researcher Infrastructure Support grants and winners research areas can be found at http://www.shrac.health.wa.gov.au/funding/niris.cfm
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