On Monday 29 October, a large group of parents, students, teachers and the wider community gathered to hear about some exciting developments in the field of cancer research. The symposium was introduced with Barker staff member, Joshua Toth, sharing his personal story and views on cancer and examples of the multidisciplinary approach required in tackling the over 200 known forms of cancer. Following on from this Kerry Strydom, the Chief Operating Officer of ACRF (Australian Cancer Research Foundation) and former Barker parent, described the organisation’s role in matching funding to brilliant initiatives. One such example was the backing of Professor Ian Frazer back in 1996, whose research led to the world’s first cancer vaccine, Gardasil – which has now been administered over 150 million times worldwide since its creation.
Jennifer Philps, a former Barker teacher, now a Community Relations officer at CMRI (Children’s Medical Research Institute), spoke passionately as to how her organisation were the recipients of a $10 million grant in 2015. Part of that grant has been provided to ProCan. Dr Akila Seneviratne effectively explained how she as an engineer was working with others from a multitude of backgrounds, to accurately map and record the proteins from 75,000 tumour samples in order to gather a data bank second to none. This will help medical institutions across the globe to facilitate a very fast and personalised approach to cancer treatment.