The Royal Australasian College of Physicians has awarded the Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal, 2017 to cancer researcher, Professor Roger Reddel.
The Medal acknowledges his contribution to the study of cancer in a 30-year career that has seen him break new ground in the understanding the disease.
Professor Reddel is a medical oncologist, molecular geneticist and an internationally regarded expert on cancer cell immortalisation. He is also Director of Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI), Westmead and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.
Professor Reddel said he was honoured by the award and credited colleagues and donors at the Children’s Medical Research Institute.
“I feel very honoured that the Royal Australasian College of Physicians has recognised this research, which has been made possible by my colleagues at Children’s Medical Research Institute and the financial support we receive from CMRI's wonderful donors,” he said.
Professor Reddel research focuses on how cancer cells can divide unlimited times. His goal is to understand the process in enough detail to develop treatments that can limit the growth of cancer cells.
He has also discovered a mechanism called Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) necessary for the continued growth of some aggressive cancers, including osteosarcoma, glioblastoma and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours.
Professor Reddel hopes his discovery leads to ways of targeting ALT that lead to treatments for these cancers.
He has also overseen the continued growth and success of the CMRI since becoming Director in 2007. Under his leadership, CMRI has established several new research units and has opened the state-of-the-art Vector and Genome Engineering Facility.
He also established Cell Bank Australia, a one-of-a-kind national cell line repository to ensure the integrity of cell lines used in research.
Professor Reddel is also the Sir Lorimer Dods Professor, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney. He gained his medical degrees at the University of Sydney (1977), trained in medical oncology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and completed a PhD in cancer cell biology in 1985. He has also received multiple fellowships to undertake postdoctoral research at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
The RACP awards the Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal every five years to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of medicine.
Previous recipients include Dr Barry Marshall, Winner of The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and the University of Sydney’s Professor Colin Sullivan who has made significant contributions internationally to the understanding and treatment of sleep apnea.