Breast cancer and stem cell scientist wins achievement award

28 October 2014
Related topics
Professor  Geoff Lindeman with gel photo
Professor Geoff Lindeman has won the Medical
Oncology Group of Australia – Novartis Oncology
Cancer Achievement Award for his contributions to
breast cancer research and treatment.
Breast cancer clinician-scientist Professor Geoff Lindeman has received a cancer achievement award in recognition of his contribution to Australian cancer research and treatment.

Professor Lindeman co-led the team that discovered breast stem cells in 2006 and has fostered the translation of breast cancer research findings into the clinic to help patients.

Professor Lindeman, a breast cancer researcher at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and medical oncologist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, received the 2014 Medical Oncology Group of Australia – Novartis Oncology Cancer Achievement Award at their Annual Scientific Meeting today. The award includes a research grant of $10,000.

The Medical Oncology Group of Australia recognised Professor Lindeman for his work in the field of breast cancer research and clinical practice, and the advancement of Australian oncology, through his:

  • clinical service as a medical oncologist;
  • translational and breast cancer research;
  • pioneering work in establishing a large Familial Cancer Clinic; and
  • supporting and mentoring early-career scientists and clinicians.

Professor Lindeman said he was honoured to receive the award. “I’m delighted to be recognised by the Medical Oncology Group of Australia with this award,” Professor Lindeman said. “For me the award reflects the tremendous team effort and support by a number of very special clinical and laboratory colleagues at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and Royal Melbourne Hospital, and my research partnership with Jane Visvader”.

Professor Lindeman is joint head of the institute’s breast cancer laboratory and the ACRF Stem Cells and Cancer division, with Professor Jane Visvader. Together they have made significant discoveries about the normal development of breast tissue and the origins of breast cancer.

“Our aim is to help bridge the current gap between world-class Australian research discoveries and their timely clinical application for breast cancer patients,” Professor Lindeman said.

One of their most significant findings was the initial discovery of breast stem cells, which can make all the cells of the mammary gland. The research led them to identify breast stem cells, and their daughters, are potential cells of origin for breast cancers.

Subsequent research by the team has shown that luminal progenitor cells, one of these stem cell ‘daughters’, are the likely cell of origin for familial breast cancers caused by BRCA1 mutations. The breast cancer laboratory is now running preclinical trials of new anti-cancer compounds, which are showing promise for treating breast cancer.

Professor Lindeman is a champion for ensuring breast cancer research findings drive new clinical treatments and practices. He is clinical director of the ACRF Centre for Therapeutic Target Discovery and head of the Australian Centre for Translational Breast Cancer Research (TransBCR). These programs are committed to early-phase clinical trials of novel anti-breast cancer drugs, and using ‘personalised medicine’ to treat breast cancer.

“Our goal is to help create a swift delivery system for cost-effective, personalised medicine for Australian breast cancer patients,” Professor Lindeman said. “We need to continue to find new treatments and methods of identifying the best treatment for each individual patient, based on their particular cancer type.”

Professor Lindeman has won a number of awards for his clinical and research work, including the Eric Susman Prize and GlaxoSmithKline Award for Research Excellence (jointly with Professor Visvader)

Past winners of the Medical Oncology Group of Australia – Novartis Oncology Cancer Achievement Award include four institute researcher Professor Tony Burgess, and alumni Professor Ian Frazer, Professor Richard Fox and Professor Alan Coates.

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