PhD Candidate Kaitlin Scheer wins 2020 Chris Adams UniSA Research Grant
Kaitlin Scheer will use the research grant to delve deeper into her research on the complicated vascular network in the biology of glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive brain cancer.
University of South Australia PhD Candidate Kaitlin Scheer is the 2020 recipient of the Chris Adams UniSA Research Grant – named in honour of a very special young man – that will provide vital contributions to her brain cancer research at the Centre for Cancer Biology.
Chris Adams lost his battle with the rare grade-three anaplastic astrocytoma brain tumour in November 2015. Chris’ family is now dedicated to honouring his memory and spirit through the Neurosurgical Research Foundation and the ‘Strong Enough to Live’ campaign which support vital research to find a cure for brain cancer.
The annual Chris Adams UniSA Research Grant provides $5,000 which will be awarded to Kaitlin Scheer this year. These funds will enable her to delve deeper into her research on the complicated vascular network in the biology of glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive form of brain cancer. It will also enable Kaitlin to further forge important bonds with fellow international researchers invested in similar areas.
As an integral part of the Tissue Architecture and Organ Function Laboratory at the Centre for Cancer Biology, Kaitlin is developing a model that could lead to better prediction of poor responders, allowing these patients to pursue other treatment options.
“Glioblastoma is particularly insidious as the blood vessels associated with these highly vascularised tumours support cancer growth and act as highways to facilitate invasion of tumour cells deeper into healthy brain tissue,” says Kaitlin.
“The model presents new opportunities for brain cancer research. It would be an invaluable tool to better understand how drugs and immune cells infiltrate the tumour and modulate the tumour microenvironment.”
“This is essential for the design of new therapies, including small molecule drug-inhibitors, combination therapy, and immunotherapy.”
Thanks to the Chris Adams UniSA Research Grant, Kaitlin has the opportunity to visit and collaborate with the United States based industry company Advanced Solutions, who are experts in the area. This experience will prove fundamental for the development of her scientific career, allowing her to accelerate her PhD program, whilst learning first-hand cutting-edge tissue engineering technologies that are not yet available in Australia.
In addition to this, the grant will also allow Kaitlin to attend the 13th Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO) Annual Scientific Meeting in Melbourne next year, enabling her to connect with, and gain insight from, other oncologists and brain cancer researchers.
“I firmly believe close interactions between oncologists, clinicians and laboratory researchers – such as those which are making our research development possible – are key to unravelling the complexities of brain cancer and ensuring that research undertaken continues to be relevant and patient-driven,” she says.
“The insights I will gain from the conference, combined with new expertise from working together with Advanced Solutions, are going to support my goal of developing a powerful tool for brain cancer research, with the ultimate goal of improving treatment for patients.”
To find out more about the NeuroSurgical Research Foundation please visit: www.nrf.com.au