Ten of our researchers spent a successful and productive two days at the Sydney Cancer Conference at Darling Harbour last week. The work they presented was very well-received, with two speakers carrying off prizes.

The Sydney Cancer Conference was held last Thursday–Friday (11–12 October) at the International Convention Centre at Darling Harbour. It was a chance for our researchers to share their findings, learn about others’ work, and forge new collaborations.

Children’s Cancer Institute had a strong presence at the event, with five of our researchers giving talks and three presenting posters. The high calibre of their work and their skill in presenting it did us proud, with two young researchers carrying off prizes.

Post-doctoral scientist Patrick Connerty was awarded the prize for Best Oral Presentation, while PhD student Jixuan (Jessie) Gao received the prize for Best Mini-Oral Presentation.

Patrick Connerty (left) and Jixuan (Jessie) Gao (right) give their award-winning presentations
Dr Patrick Connerty (left) and Jixuan (Jessie) Gao (right) give their award-winning presentations

Dr Jenny Wang, who leads our Cancer and Stem Cell Biology group, was a co-Chair of the conference Organising Committee. She was delighted with the conference’s success, and in particular with the contribution of our researchers.

“During the two-day conference, five of our researchers provided excellent oral presentations of high scientific quality,” Dr Wang said. “They all received very positive feedback.”

“Congratulations especially to Jessie and Patrick – what a great achievement!”

“We also had three great poster presentations. Thank you to all our presenters, who did a fantastic job to make this conference successful.”

Dr Amit Lalwani, Researcher Officer in our Molecular Carcinogenesis Program, presents his work on a new treatment for neuroblastoma
Dr Amit Lalwani, Researcher Officer in our Molecular Carcinogenesis Program, presents his work on a new treatment for high-risk neuroblastoma

New treatments for high-risk cancers

All the work presented by our researchers had a common theme – finding new treatments for children with high-risk types of leukaemia or neuroblastoma. These patients have a very poor prognosis, so better treatments are desperately needed.

The best cancer treatment is highly effective and highly specific, i.e. it kills cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. The findings presented by our researchers ranged from identifying new, cancer-specific drug targets, to investigating potential new drugs, to repurposing existing drugs already being used for other conditions.

Dr Klaartje Somers stands at her poster and discusses her findings
Dr Klaartje Somers, Senior Research Officer in our Experimental Therapeutics program, discusses her findings on a possible new treatment for an aggressive type of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) called MLL-r ALL.

Below is a full list of the presentations given by our researchers.

Oral presentations

Basit Salik: “A novel cancer stem cell-targeted therapy characterised in highly translatable xenograft models”

Jixuan Gao: “Targeting ABCE1 disables MYC-driven protein synthesis to block neuroblastoma progression”

Dr Klaartje Somers: “Targeting NAD+ biosynthesis as a therapeutic strategy for high-risk paediatric ALL”

Dr Mawar Karsa: “Repositioning existing drugs as novel therapeutics for high-risk paediatric leukaemia”

Dr Patrick Connerty: “Targeting a novel metabolic regulatory mechanism in acute myeloid leukaemia”

Poster presentations

Dr Amit Lalwani: “FACT binding at MYCN target genes leads to increased transcriptional elongation and MYCN-linked transcriptional activity”

Dr Klaartje Somers: “Inhibition of histone chaperone FACT potentiates chemotherapeutics for MLL-rearranged leukaemia”

Dr Marion Le Grand: “Therapeutic inhibition of MYCN by targeting AKT activity in neuroblastoma”

 

Find out more about our research.

 

Top image: Our researchers at the Sydney Cancer Conference at Darling Harbour (all images supplied by Yingxin (Celia) Jiang)



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