New lab will help identify causes of brain cancer

Brain cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in people aged under 40 in Australia.Brain cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in people aged under 40 in Australia.

A generous donation from Santos to the NeuroSurgical Research Foundation (NRF), along with additional money raised by South Australia Police, will fund the Dean Bowman Brain Tumour Laboratory.

The laboratory is named in honour of one of Santos’ senior executives who died from a brain tumour in 2010.

“Brain cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in people aged under 40, yet research into this area is badly needed as survival rates have not improved in two decades,” according to Professor Bob Vink, the Chair of the NeuroSurgical Research Foundation and Head of the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Adelaide.

Professor Vink says the new laboratory will provide world-standard equipment and fund much-needed research into brain cancer, which has an almost 100% fatality rate.

“More than 1400 people die of brain cancer each year in Australia and it accounts for more than one third of cancer deaths in children aged under 10,” Professor Vink says.

“The establishment of this research laboratory will allow us to really focus our research on brain tumours, and more specifically how brain tumours enter the brain and subsequently gain a foothold.

“By preventing cancer cells from other parts of the body entering the brain, we hope to reduce the impact of brain cancer and save lives in the process.”

South Australia Police launched an annual cycling event in 2010 to raise funds for brain cancer research following the death of Senior Sergeant Mick Koerner from an inoperable brain tumour. In the past two years they have raised $160,000 for the NRF – some of which will be used to outfit and run the new Dean Bowman Brain Tumour Research Laboratory.

“Having the latest equipment is vital if we want to remain at the cutting edge of medical research and maintain our 5-star world rating in clinical health research,” Professor Vink says.

The University of Adelaide established Australia’s first Chair of Neurosurgical Research in 1992 with funding from the NRF. The first Chair was Professor Nigel Jones and Professor Vink has been the NRF Chair since 2004.