Money raised by the Sydney Airport Community Christmas Giving Appeal will support an innovative project to find better treatments for neuroblastoma.

One of our researchers, Project Leader Dr Orazio Vittorio, has received a grant of $200,000 to support his search for better, less toxic therapies for neuroblastoma. The money was raised by the Sydney Airport Community for cancer charity Cure Cancer Australia, who awarded it to Dr Vittorio as part of an initiative to support Australia’s brightest emerging cancer researchers.

Copper in his sights

All cells contain small amounts of copper, which they need to function normally. However Dr Vittorio’s research has shown that copper levels are higher in neuroblastoma cells than in normal cells. Based on these findings he thinks copper could be a good therapeutic target in neuroblastoma.

“This two-year grant provides me with the opportunity to test my hypotheses, expand my research and create new knowledge,” said Dr Vittorio.

He’ll be asking several important questions, such as:

  • Do high levels of copper make neuroblastoma tumours more aggressive?
  • Can measuring copper levels help diagnose and treat neuroblastoma?
  • Can nanomedicines be used to target copper in neuroblastoma?

“we all want nothing more than to see he and all his fellow researchers triumph in their fight against this insidious disease”

A common vision

Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert, and Cure Cancer Australia CEO Floyd Larsen visited our labs to congratulate Dr Vittorio on the award in person.

“His vision is truly remarkable and we all want nothing more than to see he and all his fellow researchers triumph in their fight against this insidious disease,” said Mr Culbert.

“Importantly, this project will also raise vital awareness around neuroblastoma, as well as helping to find new ways to treat it,” he said.

Dr Vittorio with the visitors in the lab explaining his research
Dr Vittorio takes the visitors on a tour of the lab and explains his research

Mr Culbert thanked all those who contributed to the Appeal, including passengers, staff, corporate partners, stakeholders and the wider community. His sentiments were echoed by Cure Cancer Australia’s Floyd Larsen.

“The funds raised through this appeal have the potential to really make a difference to our mission, which is to make this the last generation to die from cancer,” she said.

Read Sydney Airport’s media release.

Top image (left to right): Geoff Culbert, CEO of Sydney Airport; Floyd Larsen, CEO of Cure Cancer Australia; Dr Orazio Vittorio of Children’s Cancer Institute; Philip Corne, Chairman of Cure Cancer Australia.

Photo credits: Kurt Ams

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