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June 2011 Issue
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Brain tumour lab aims to cut cancer deaths

A new brain tumour research lab has opened at the University of Adelaide.

The lab will be used to investigate the causes behind brain cancer, which is one of Australia's most aggressive and least understood cancers, killing one Australian every six hours.

A generous donation from Santos to the NeuroSurgical Research Foundation (NRF), along with additional money raised by South Australia Police, will fund the Dean Bowman Brain Tumour Laboratory.

The laboratory is named in honour of one of Santos' senior executives who died from a brain tumour in 2010.

"Brain cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in people aged under 40, yet research into this area is badly needed as survival rates have not improved in two decades," said Professor Bob Vink, the Chair of the NeuroSurgical Research Foundation and Head of the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Adelaide.

Professor Vink said the new laboratory, which opened last month, would provide world-standard equipment and fund much-needed research into brain cancer, which has an almost 100% fatality rate.

"More than 1400 people die of brain cancer each year in Australia and it accounts for more than one third of cancer deaths in children aged under 10," Professor Vink said.

"The establishment of this research laboratory will allow us to really focus our research on brain tumours, and more specifically how brain tumours enter the brain and subsequently gain a foothold.

"By preventing cancer cells from other parts of the body entering the brain, we hope to reduce the impact of brain cancer and save lives in the process."

An annual cycling event launched by South Australia Police to support the NRF has raised $160,000 in the past two years, some of which will be used to outfit and run the new Dean Bowman Brain Tumour Research Laboratory.

"Having the latest equipment is vital if we want to remain at the cutting edge of medical research and maintain our five-star world rating in clinical health research," Professor Vink said.

The University of Adelaide established Australia's first Chair of Neurosurgical Research in 1992 with funding from the NRF. The first Chair was Professor Nigel Jones and Professor Vink has been the NRF Chair since 2004.

For more information about the NeuroSurgical Research Foundation or to make a donation, go to:

Story by Candy Gibson

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