Hear about how the impact of cancer is shifting, for the better

Thursday 24 August 2017

If the number of people you know with cancer has felt overwhelming, come along to Open Day at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and learn of the work being done in WA that is making a positive difference.

On Saturday August 26 from 10am to 3.30pm presentations by leading professors, tours of laboratories with researchers and an opportunity to be in a lab and give research a go is on offer for free to members of the public.

“Each year when we’ve opened our doors to the public we find there is great interest in the research we do and a real desire to learn about what’s changing in cancer treatments or heart disease research or genetic discoveries”, said Professor Peter Leedman, Director of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research .

“What is exciting for us is that there are a lot of good stories to tell. Survival rates from breast cancer or melanoma, for example, are definitely increasing and the work of our scientists is very much a part of that trend.

“Perkins researchers have made major discoveries in the field of cancer including uncovering the gene that controls hormone production in breast and prostate cancers, the discovery of a tumour suppressor gene and of a process for normalising blood vessels in tumours to allow more effective absorption of cancer-combating drugs.

“It is understandable people feel overwhelmed about a disease like breast cancer, but research is saving lives. For example in the mid 1980’s there was little treatment other than surgery for one aggressive type of oestrogen driven cancer.  By the end of the 80’s basic chemotherapy reduced the risk of that cancer returning to 55%. Several improvements in chemotherapy have followed and now, following trials of a new treatment in Perth and around the world, the risk of that cancer type returning is at 12%,” Professor Leedman said.

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