Opening new research possibility for Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute

PRIZED GUEST: Nobel laureate Peter Doherty will deliver the key note address to officially open Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute's new state-of-the-art base.

PRIZED GUEST: Nobel laureate Peter Doherty will deliver the key note address to officially open Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute's new state-of-the-art base.

NOBEL laureate professor Peter Doherty will officially open Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute’s new home on Wednesday morning.

FECRI’s move to Federation University’s Ballarat Technology Park allows the institute to further focus on cancer immunology – and immunology is part of Professor Doherty’s specialty.

Professor Doherty’s research focuses on the immune system and his Nobel work, with Rolf Zinkernagel, described how the body's immune cells protect against viruses. This earned the pair the 1996 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

Our new home is a reflection of the continuous growth of the Institute, from very humble beginnings over a decade ago, to a highly regarded institute whose scientific research is now beginning to bear fruit

FECRI management chairman Wayne Robinson

FECRI transitioned into its new state-of-the-art laboratories earlier this year after more than a decade working from St John of God Hospital’s Mair Street boiler room.

The invitational ceremony officially marks the next chapter of the institute’s research development and increasing attention in international and leading clinical journals.

FECRI management board chairman Emeritus Professor Wayne Robinson said the institute had made remarkable progress. Its new base would help build on this.

“Our new home is a reflection of the continuous growth of the Institute, from very humble beginnings over a decade ago, to a highly regarded institute whose scientific research is now beginning to bear fruit,” Professor Robinson said.

“The last decade has seen a remarkable expansion of the Institute’s research effort, not least of which is the very pleasing increase in the number of research staff and students whose bright and creative minds make the critical discoveries.”

FECRI has 12 scientific articles in international journals and a number of clinical trials involving the institute’s laboratory staff  that have led to six publications in highly regarded clinical journals.

Ovarian cancer research specialist Nuzhat Ahmed joined the FECRI team in May, adding a new dimension and new partnerships to the institute program.

The institute’s chemosensitivity lung cancer trial is the world’s only random trial of chemosensitivity testing. This trial will determine if there is a role for pre-testing tumour samples in laboratories prior to treating patients with chemotherapy drugs.

FECRI started as the dream of Ballarat teenager Fiona Elsey for her hometown. She died of a rare muscle cancer in 1991.

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