Flinders Medical Centre Foundation
Flinders Medical Centre Foundation

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Daisy important in the chain of research

Monday, 18 May 2015 16:40

Does a pretty little daisy hold the key to successfully treating prostate cancer? That’s one of the questions researchers at Flinders are aiming to determine.


Feverfew Tanacetum parthenium L. is a medicinal flowering herb with anti-inflammatory qualities that has been used for thousands of years to treat everything from migraine headaches to rheumatoid arthritis, stomach aches, toothaches, insect bites, infertility – and even as an enema for worms.

 

Now researchers at the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer (FCIC) are investigating whether it may also be useful not only in protecting ‘normal’ cells in men undergoing radiation treatment for prostate cancer – but also in killing off active tumour cells.

 

The research us part of a bigger, long-term project Professor of Preventive Cancer Biology Pam Sykes in the FCIC has been involved with for more than a decade.

 

She is working on the new phase of research with PhD student Katherine Morel and an international research team including Professor Chris Sweeny from the Dana Faber Cancer Institute in the United States. To read the entire article, click here.

 

A worthy project

Tuesday, 21 April 2015 09:42

Milano Venter took her Year 10 school project to a new level -  she just finished riding from Adelaide to Melbourne to raise money for cancer care and research.



The Woodcroft College student left her Flagstaff Hill home Saturday 14,  hoping to raise $5,000 for the Flinders Medical Centre Foundation.

 


"I got into cycling last year and was sitting in class wondering what Year 10 project to do and this ride came up," Milano 14, says.

 

"I had a friend when I was eight and he had brain cancer and passed away and it was really bad at the time.



"The fact that it's for children's cancer and me being a child myself I thought it would be a good way to raise money."



Milano's father Daniel rode alongside her for the entire journey, and her mother Lindi followed in a car.



They rode around 150km a day, arriving at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday 21 March.

 

"We have ridden about 120km a day before, so our adrenaline kicked in and helped us to keep us going for the extra kilometres," Milano says.



"My friends and teachers at school have been blown away and supportive of the idea."



So far Milano has raised close to $3,000 towards her $5,000 target.



To donate to Milano, please visit her Team Flinders page



Article provided by Mitcham and Hills Messenger.

 

Grant awarded for Motor Neuron Disease project

Wednesday, 01 April 2015 09:00

Flinders University PhD student Stephanie Shepheard was recently awarded the Kathleen V. Russell Prize by the Flinders Medical Centre Foundation for her research into monitoring disease progression in Motor Neuron Disease (MND).



The prize is awarded annually by the FMC Foundation on the recommendation of the Centre for Neuroscience, to Honours, Masters-by-Research or Postgraduate student in any branch of the neurobiological sciences at Flinders University.



Three students were chosen to give a seminar in late 2014, after being nominated by senior neuroscientists.



They were competing for the $500 prize, with Stephanie's seminar and application chosen the winner of the prestigious honour.



The Kathleen V. Russell Prize was established in 1989 by an endowment to the Flinders Medical Centre Foundation from the late Professor Roger Russell, a former Vice Chancellor of Flinders University (1972-1979) and his wife Kay (Kathleen) after whom the prize is named.



Stephanie and her team found that a protein shed by nerve cells, when they are injured is increased in levels in the urine of people with MND.

 

As symptoms gets worse, the amount in the urine increases, with Stephanie arguing that it could be used to monitor disease progression.



"By being able to measure the stage of disease, we could use this test to determine if a drug has an effect by seeing if there is less of the protein in the person's urine," Stephanie said.



Currently in Australia, two people are diagnosed and two people die each day of MND, a disease which results in the death of nerve cells that control movement.



Recently the disease received world-wide exposure due to the ice bucket challenge where people poured ice water over themselves in order to bring awareness to the disease.



While 90 per cent with the disease are diagnosed with no known cause, the remaining ten per cent of people suffer from MND because of gene mutation.



According to Stephanie, one way to get close to a cure is to develop a biomarker of disease that can measure the changes in disease over time.



"Measuring if the biomarker changes in patients taking drugs in clinical trials will help identify effective drugs for people suffering from MND."

 

"We hope to use our marker in urine to test if drugs are working in clinical trials of new treatments," she said.



Stephanie said that the project gaining broader recognition has resulted in collaborations with other researchers around the world.



"Hopefully, with continued recognition and support, we can continue our research, and develop a useful marker to use in clinical trials and the clinic," she said.



"Thank you to the FMC Foundation for the Kathleen V Russell prize. I'd also like to thank Australian Rotary Health for funding my PhD scholarship, the 'Neville & Jean York PhD Scholarship for MND' (co-funded by Flinders University),"



"I would also like to thank MND Australia and the MND Research Institute of Australia (MNDRIA) who have funded this project over the last 5 years."



If healthy people or people with MND, Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis, or Alzheimer's disease would like to participate in this project, they can contact Stephanie Shepheard atstephanie.shepheard@flinders.edu.au



If you would like to donate to motor neuron disease or other medical research, please contact the FMC Foundation on 8204 5216.

   

100K milestone achieved by Mr.Riggs Wine & Co

Monday, 23 March 2015 13:35

Mr. Riggs Wine Co. is celebrating its enduring relationship with the Flinders Medical Centre Foundation after reaching its $100,000 donation milestone.

 

For 10 years, Mr. Riggs Wine Co. has been contributing funds from sales of its popular wine, The Gaffer McLaren Vale Shiraz, to boost the FMC Foundation's resources to find a cure for cancer.

 

To celebrate this milestone, Mr. Riggs also donated the proceeds from one bottle of The Gaffer sold (from every dozen) during the month of October 2014, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

 

Mr. Riggs Wine Co. is also a loyal supporter of the FMC Foundation's pinkyellowblueball, which is Adelaide's premier fundraising gala event.

 

Recently, prominent cancer researcher Dr Michael Michael, the FMC Foundation's Executive Director Debbie Palmer, and Events and Partnerships Manager Georgie Reid accepted a $5000 cheque which was presented by winemaker Ben (Mr.) Riggs.

 

Ben says, "We're so proud of The Gaffer - this top drop has enabled us to contribute to the FMC Foundation, wearing its flashy pink cap, for a decade."

 

During October last year, Mr. Riggs ran a Facebook promotion called "Women Worth Celebrating", which called for people to nominate a woman who deserved recognition.

 

"We were overwhelmed with the amount of entries we received - there are so many amazing women out there!" says Ben Riggs.

 

Each day in October, Mr. Riggs Wine Co. gave away Haigh's chocolates and a bottle of The Gaffer Shiraz to one Woman Worth Celebrating.

 

It was a remarkable display of community gratitude for the dedication and resilience of the women in our lives.

 

Ben (Mr.) Riggs wholeheartedly supports the continual effort to raise funds for the Flinders Medical Centre Foundation after losing dear friend and Mr. Riggs brand manager, Kym Pilkington (who propelled the original pink cap Gaffer campaign), to cancer.

 

Since then, Mr. Riggs' support for this cause has grown stronger, and support from its local and interstate restaurants and retailers has been outstanding.

 

Mr. Riggs would like to thank everyone who took part in the "Women Worth Celebrating" campaign in October last year and all those who have purchased The Gaffer with the intention to donate funds to Flinders Medical Centre Foundation.

 

Story provided by GlamAdelaide

 

Grant success for cancer research team

Tuesday, 10 February 2015 09:17

Dr Michael Michael has been awarded a $200,000 Established Research Grant from Tour de Cure through the Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) Foundation for a research project entitled Non-coding RNAs as mediators of metabolic change in colorectal cancer cells.

 

Post-doctoral researcher Dr Karen Humphreys was also instrumental to the development of this application and named as an investigator along with Michael.

 

Associate Dean for Research at Flinders University, Professor Ross McKinnon, said this was a terrific outcome – being the second such grant to be awarded to Flinders in as many years.

 

“Dr Michael’s grant follows a Tour de Cure Established Research Grant to FCIC’s Dr Ying Hu last year. Dr Hu’s project, entitled Resistant starch: a promising dietary agent for the prevention/treatment of bowel cancer associated with inflammation, is about to commence, while Dr Michael’s is due to commence in early 2016,” he said.

 

“Winning this grant two years in a row is testament to the great talent we have in the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer (FCIC) and our School of Medicine in general.”

 

“I’d like to thank Tour de Cure, as well as the FMC Foundation for their critical and ongoing role in FCIC’s success.”

 

“Congratulations are also due to Dr Karen Humphreys who is a great asset to FCIC and will be commencing studies in the medicine program here at Flinders in a few weeks.”

 

The research project follows on from the recent findings by post-doctoral researcher Dr Karen Humphreys, that specific microRNAs are responsible for the way that dietary butyrate kills off bowel cancer cells, but not normal colon cells. Dietary butyrate is naturally produced by bacteria in our gut, through the fermentation of dietary fibre, and is thought to contribute to the anti-cancer effect of high-fibre diets.

 

Others have shown that the specific killing effect of butyrate on cancer cells relates to the fact that they produce energy differently to normal cells, which has lead the team to wonder whether the cancer-associated microRNAs that we have been studying might also control energy production in those cells. As microRNAs act by specifically suppressing the expression of other target genes (preventing the genetic sequence from producing a protein product), they might reasonably regulate genes involved in normal energy production in gut cells.

 

To study the roles of microRNAs in energy production in colon cancer cells, in 2016 the to-be-funded project will undertake an unbiased screen to identify all the human microRNAs that can influence the altered metabolism that is a hallmark of cancer cells.

 

The research team hope that this will uncover an Achille’s heel in tumours that can be exploited to develop new anti-cancer strategies. The project will take full advantage of the “Functional Genomics” capabilities in the South Australian High Throughput Screening Facility, which will soon be established in the FCIC and which was supported by an ARC grant in 2014.

   

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