SAHMRI blood cancer leaders convene international leukaemia conference

15 Mar 2024
SAHMRI blood cancer leaders convene international leukaemia conference

SAHMRI Precision Cancer Medicine Theme Leader, Professor Deb White and Blood Cancer Program lead, Dr Dan Thomas, recently co-convened the 2024 New Directions in Leukaemia Research (NDLR) conference, hosted at Adelaide Oval.

Sponsored by the Leukaemia Foundation, NDLR is an international leukaemia conference, bringing together the brightest scientists and clinicians in blood cancer.

The three-day event, held from March 4-6, featured presentations showcasing recent findings and fostering new collaborations, giving attendees the opportunity to engage with experts in basic and translational research, as well as explore emerging therapies making an impact in clinical settings.

Dr Thomas says this year’s conference was very encouraging, due to the many new breakthroughs relating to complex diseases.

“It was great to see so many clinicians, scientists and nurses coming together from around Australia and overseas to focus on improving treatment based on good science,” Dr Thomas said.

“The most notable discoveries presented were new therapies that can impact leukemias with TP53 mutations, a really challenging disease to treat.”

“We’re also seeing new cell-based treatments working via natural killer cells that have shown effectiveness against a number of blood cancers, without significant side effects.”

Research has transformed outcomes for patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and multiple myeloma (MM), and significant progress is now being made in the treatment of other blood cancers, such as B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias, myelofibrosis, chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia, and myelodysplastic syndrome.

Three SAHMRI researchers had their achievements recognised with awards.

Dr Elyse Page was awarded the NDLR 2024 Young Investigator, EMCR Award

Dr Jacqueline Rehn took home the NDLR 2024 Poster Award and Connor Williams from the Myeloma lab won the Young Investigator Student Award.

The event’s highest honour, the Don Metcalf Orator Award, went to Professor Louise Purton from Melbourne’s St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research, who was selected for her long-standing commitment to understanding the bone marrow microenvironment for patients with leukaemia.

Professor Purton has been a key advocate for patients and researchers with disability for many years and promoting women in science.

The conference was a widely hailed success, highlighting the SAHMRI’s significant contribution to international blood cancer research.

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