10 May 2024

Morning tea can help save lives, just ask the Cancer Council – and these two researchers

| Sally Hopman
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Professor Paul Craft AM, the Governor-General David Hurley, Dr Teresa Bonello, Elizabeth Mee, Mrs Linda Hurley and Roger Buckley.

Professor Paul Craft AM, Governor-General David Hurley, Dr Teresa Bonello, Elizabeth Mee (representing Dr Rachel Woodhouse), Mrs Linda Hurley and Roger Buckley at Government House, Canberra, for the Cancer Council awards ceremony. Photo: Hilary Wardhaugh.

Two Canberra-based researchers have secured $150,000 in funding for their ground-breaking work in the fight against cancer.

The researchers, Dr Rachel Woodhouse and Dr Teresa Bonello from the Australian National University (ANU), were announced as the successful candidates for the Cancer Council ACT funding at an Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea event at Government House. Governor-General David Hurley and Mrs Linda Hurley, patron of Cancer Council ACT, hosted the event.

Dr Woodhouse, a postdoctoral fellow at the Cancer Immunology and Epigenetics Laboratory at the ANU’s John Curtin School of Medical Research, said the funding would be essential to further her research.

Her study, Developing novel therapies for EZH2 driven B-cell lymphoma, looks at how changes in gene expression patterns within cancer cells drive tumour development and progression. The goal is to develop new therapies for cancers that resist traditional treatments.

“I am thrilled to have been awarded a Cancer Council ACT research grant to develop new treatments for lymphoma,” she said. “This grant provides invaluable support to me as an early career researcher.

“With this funding, our team can delve deeper into understanding the complexities of lymphoma and explore innovative avenues for treatment. I am immensely grateful to Cancer Council ACT and the fundraising community for making this possible.”

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Dr Teresa Bonello, a Research Fellow at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, received the grant for her project, Normalising the tumour microenvironment to improve treatment outcomes for triple negative breast cancer.

“Medical breakthroughs depend on taking new ideas into the lab and doing those first critical experiments,” she said.

“Cancer Council ACT provides significant traction to get this work off the ground.”

Providing ongoing funding for cancer research is crucial according to the Cancer Council, with the latest figures showing almost one in two Australians will be diagnosed with cancer by age 85.

Dr Teresa Bonello and Dr Rachel Woodhouse in white lab coats

Dr Teresa Bonello and Dr Rachel Woodhouse, recipients of the Cancer Council funding for their research at the ANU. Photo: Supplied.

President of Cancer Council ACT Roger Buckley said events such as Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea not only united the community in a shared mission against cancer, but also provided a vital platform to celebrate and support local cancer researchers.

“We are delighted to be funding the work of doctors Woodhouse and Bonello, who are driving innovative research right here in Canberra – ensuring that breakthroughs in cancer research continue to flourish in our region.

“This is only possible through community fundraising like Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea.”

The official date for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is Thursday, 23 May 2024, but Canberrans are encouraged to host their events throughout May and June. All proceeds directly support Cancer Council ACT’s initiatives including local research.

A major fundraiser for the year, the morning tea helps the Cancer Council continue its life-saving work – from acquiring the latest research equipment to providing accommodation for those who have to travel long distances for treatment. For example, $150 provides transport and accommodation for regional people needing treatment in the city; $5000 funds a community-wide campaign about the importance of early screening.

A morning tea can be held at the office, home or online. The Cancer Council provides all the information needed to host a successful event.

To host your Biggest Morning Tea, register at biggestmorningtea.com.au.

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