Defeat Cancer

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Featured in Burwood Scene, June 5, 2013.

The capability for professor Derek Hart and his team at Dendritic Cell Biology and Therapeutics Group (DCBTG) to deliver a world-wide boost in finding a cure for cancer is on our doorstep now that the ANZAC Research Institute at Concord Hospital and Bendigo Bank have formed a partnership to launch an Australia-wide appeal.

The ANZAC Research Institute Medical Appeal was announced at the 2013 Inner West Business Awards presentation last Wednesday and will be formally launched this month in every Bendigo Bank branch in Sydney with a starting target of $150,000 before expanding nationally for a total target of $5million.

Professor Hart is an Oxford Rhodes Scholar who has focussed his work on human dendritic cell (DC) research, which helped to verify its existence, and for which Professor Ralph Steinman was awarded the Nobel prize – posthumously, in 2011.

The Group is internationally recognised as a leader in the field and includes Hart’s Associate Professor wife, Georgina and a brilliant 20-strong team.

So, why is the Dendritic cell so important?

Dcs are unique subsets of white blood cells that are responsible for initiating and directing immune responses. In the past two years, the Group at Concord have proven that these cells can be isolated, taken out, retrained and put back into the blood stream to fight cancer or accept transplants from the inside.

They are rapidly approaching phase 1 of human clinical trials in a collaboration that exists between Concord, Westmead and RPA hospitals. The $150,000 inner-west target will provide one more researcher and equipment.

Bendigo Bank’s Senior Community Strengthening Manager, John Chandler says this appeal will be the largest community project Australia-wide for the bank.

“We are delighted to be associated with this wonderful cause,” Mr Chandler said.

“Anyone will be able to donate at the bank or online. Over 12 months the appeal will be rolled out across Australia and we will encourage and support local community events with fund-raising.”

The Abacus Property Group, which owns Ashfield Mall and Birkenhead Point Shopping centre, announced a $5,000 donation to start the appeal at the local business awards last week.

By Belinda Noonan.

Image Caption: (L to R) Emmanuel Vatalis (Homebush Community Bank Branch Manager), Professor Derek Hart, David Langdon (Chairman Homebush Financial Services) and Associate Professor Georgina Clark at the ANZAC Research Institute.

Photo: Gabbie Smith

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