Top award for anti-tobacco campaigner
23 May 2008
The University of Sydney's Professor Simon Chapman has taken out the Premier's Award for Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year for 2008.
Professor Chapman said he was honoured to receive the Premier's award. "There are so many areas of cancer research which are more high profile than tobacco control research, but there are few - if any - which have translated into so many lives saved.
"The incidence of new cases of lung cancer in men has fallen 19 per cent in the last ten years alone. Male death rates per 100,000 from lung cancer are now back to the level they were in 1950.
"About 85 per cent of lung cancer occurs in smokers, and with it being the leading cause of cancer death, this is huge progress."
Professor Chapman has a 30-year history in tobacco control research and advocacy, and has been awarded several international prizes for his work. This latest award, worth $50,000, was presented at a ceremony at Darling Harbour last night.
He has published five books on tobacco control and over 350 papers. At the end of 2008, he is stepping down from a 16-year stint editing the British Medical Journal's international journal, Tobacco Control.
Next year Professor Chapman will be spending more time in China after being awarded, with others, a $3m grant by Ovations/US National Institutes of Health. There he hopes to "export" many of the lessons from Australia's track record to reduce the world's largest challenge in tobacco control: 350 million Chinese smokers.
Many of Professor Chapman's papers can be found here.
Other Premier's Awards
A Premier's honour also went to the Outstanding Research Fellow, Dr Linda Bendall, a haematologist from the University's Faculty of Medicine, whose research at the Westmead Millennium Institute into leukaemia has attracted international acclaim.
Dr Bendall's laboratory has led research into the ways cells interact to cause acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), which occurs most commonly in children. Her research uncovered new information about factors which may slow or prevent the growth of leukaemia. In the coming year, this research will very likely be taken into new clinical trials testing these promising new treatments.
Katie Dixon, who recently completed her doctorate at the School of Medical Sciences, received the Premier's Award for Outstanding Cancer Research Scholar, and is recognised for her cancer research on ultraviolet radiation-induced skin cancer. Her study was the first to demonstrate a role for vitamin D compounds in reducing tumour formation and skin cancer progression.
The studies carried out in this project helped to unravel the mechanisms underlying photoprotection by vitamin D compounds. A preliminary study carried out in human subjects showed a reduction in some of the early events that lead to skin cancer development; in particular the reduction of sunburn cells and DNA damage.
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