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Mater Researcher Associate Professor Kristen Radford has been awarded a 2020 Fulbright Future Scholarship allowing her to progress her cancer research with a four month sabbatical at the Tisch Cancer Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
The Fulbright Program in Australia provides funding each year for the nation’s best and brightest to study at world-leading research institutes and universities in the United States.
Kristen has spent more than a decade developing vaccines to treat a variety of cancer types, including one she is currently working on to target acute myeloid leukaemia, melanoma, prostate and ovarian cancer.
“We have shown in novel preclinical human models that our new vaccine is superior to current vaccines that already show promise in clinical trials. The Tisch Cancer Institute is a world leader in cancer vaccine clinical trials,” said Kristen.
“My Fulbright scholarship will allow me to acquire new techniques and expertise, and develop new international partnerships to help translate our vaccine to the clinic.
“This is an excellent opportunity to move my research forward where I will be working with researchers who are experts in their field.”
This opportunity further advances the world leading cancer vaccine trials which were pioneered at Mater.
Kristen developed and validated a novel vaccine for cancer between 2002-2005, which was translated into a first-in-man Phase I clinical trial for metastatic prostate cancer, conducted at Mater between 2005-2015.
This vaccine was safe and feasible but required isolation of the patients’ own blood cells for generation.
A major highlight for Kristen and her team has been the first description of a rare human immune cell subtype, which is now considered crucial for activating the body’s own immune system to recognise and fight cancer.
The new vaccine very specifically harnesses these specialised cancer-fighting immune cells, without requiring removal of patients’ blood, making it potentially more effective, practical and safer than cancer vaccines currently in clinical trial.
“I am very excited and grateful for this opportunity. It would not have been possible without the help of Mater Research and Mater Foundation,” she said.
You can listen to Kristen’s interview on cancer vaccines and her Fullbright Scholarship online from 38:30 to 49:40 here https://mater.li/ABCRadio
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