New era dawns for Precision Cancer Medicine

12 Sep 2022
New era dawns for Precision Cancer Medicine

Professor Deb White has been appointed to co-lead SAHMRI’s Precision Cancer Medicine theme, alongside incumbent Professor Tim Hughes. The move is in response to the continuing expansion of the theme and recognises Prof White’s outstanding achievements to date in both research and leadership.

Professor White says she feels deeply honoured to be co-leading the theme, having been at SAHMRI since its inception.

“The availability of many new treatment approaches in this era of Precision Cancer Medicine requires a comprehensive integration of both clinical and laboratory medicine to ensure the best patient outcomes,” she said.

“This is an exciting, and also challenging, phase for our laboratory-based scientists and students and our clinical researchers. I look forward to working side-by-side with Prof Hughes, our stellar Program Leads and our staff and students to ensure the very best outcomes for our patients and for our researchers.”

Prof White is a multiple award-winning leukaemia researcher who has authored more than 100 scientific publications and is listed on several international patents. She is the SA Scientific Lead for Zero Children’s Cancer and the National Flagship Lead for the acute lymphoblastic leukaemia stream of Australian Genomics.

The leukaemia research specialist has, until now, been the Deputy Leader of the Precision Cancer Medicine theme and the leader of SAHMRI’s Blood Cancer Program – the latter role to now be assumed by Associate Professor Dan Thomas.

“There has never been a more exciting time for cancer research in terms of new treatments and better outcomes, with most of these breakthroughs having come first in the blood cancers,” A/Prof Thomas said.

“It is a real privilege to lead the SAHMRI Blood Cancer program into the next era, supporting students, clinicians and scientists to achieve world-first results that benefit patients.”

In 2019, A/Prof Thomas chose to continue his vocation at SAHMRI after a distinguished career with the Stanford University School of Medicine. He leads the Myeloid Metabolism Laboratory at SAHMRI and, as a clinical haematologist and pathologist, focuses strongly on strengthening bonds across the Adelaide BioMed City precinct which includes SAHMRI, the Royal Adelaide Hospital and SA’s three major universities.

Professor Hughes says the leadership changes come at an exciting time for the Precision Cancer Medicine theme, with new facilities being embedded and new trials starting.

“These all further our goal to translate our research into clinical breakthroughs,” he said.

“With expanding programs comes new opportunities for leadership. It’s a pleasure to see Prof White and A/Prof Thomas receive these well-deserved promotions that reflect their leading roles within the theme.”

SAHMRI’s Precision Cancer Medicine theme has experienced significant growth in the past year or two, as evidenced by the establishment of specific research programs to address Blood Cancer and Solid Tumours; and the creation of the new Paediatric Neuro-Oncology Program.

The Paediatric Neuro-Oncology Program is led by McClurg Brain Cancer Fellow, A/Prof Jordan Hansford, and is playing a key role in prepararing for the opening of the Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research in 2025.

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