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Roadtrip to ... ADRI

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News Articles
15 April 2016

Last month, Sydney Catalyst Director, Professor John Simes and Research Manager, Danielle Miller took the chance to visit Sydney Catalyst member group ADRI and meet their new Director, Professor Ken Takahashi. Professor Takahashi joined ADRI in February 2017, replacing inaugural ADRI Director, Professor Nico van Zandwijk, who, although retiring from his role as Director, will remain involved with the clinical program at ADRI. 




John and Danielle's meeting with Ken, Nico and newly appointed Deputy Director Associate Professor Glen Reid, provided a great opportunity to discuss the current status and future plans of both ADRI and Sydney Catalyst. The two programs remain well aligned and we have no doubt that we will continue to enjoy a productive collaborative relationship with ADRI. 

Some of ADRI's most recent achievements include completion of their MesomiR 1 phase I clinical trial, which has been evaluating a new approach to therapy for selected patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma or non-small cell lung cancer. Specifically, the trial has been testing the optimal dose of TargomiRs, an experimental medication consisting of ADRI's microRNA mimic encapsulated in EnGeneIC's targeted EDV(TM)nanocells. The treatment was designed to restore levels of a family of microRNAs that are present at reduced levels in mesothelioma and lung cancer patients and initial results have been promising. Another integral part of their strong T1 program is the ADRI Biobank, which contains fresh frozen tumour tissue, DNA and RNA samples derived from tumour tissue and matched bloods from mesothelioma patients, control tissue samples and a series of formalin-fixed tumour tissues, with accompanying accurate, reliable and standardised clinical data. This is an important and unique resource that provides ADRI investigators and collaborators with biospecimens and high quality data for research projects that will lead to a better understanding of disease. ADRI is also leading a range of epidemiological research projects, which will no doubt be an area of focus for incoming Director Professor Takahashi, whose expertise as an internationally renowned epidemiologist, with specific interests in prevention of asbestos disease and epidemiologic research of occupational lung diseases, will complement an already highly regarded institute.


During our visit we also took the chance to congratulate outgoing Director Professor van Zandwijk on the amazing contribution he has made to asbestos disease research in Australia and to Sydney Catalyst specifically. His contribution to our program is the reason that we've identified a special category Travel and Education Award in his honour as part of our upcoming 2017 round. Specifically, the Sydney Catalyst Professor Nico van Zandwijk Travel and Education Award will be given to a student or early-caree rresearcher, particularly working in the field of thoracic cancer research, and wishing to undertake a related training and/or development opportunity, who satisfactorily addresses all eligibility and selection criteria. Applications for this new round are now open and the guidelines are available online. Congratulations and thank you Nico, and good luck Ken and Glen with ADRI's ongoing program.



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