FIGHTING ROGUE CANCERS: Dr Heather Lee, NSW Cancer Institute’s early career fellow at the Hunter Medical Research Institute, where she is conducting award-winning research. Picture: Jonathan Carroll Dr Heather Lee movedto Sydney and then Cambridge to advance her study of genetics, onlyto find herself“about five minutes” from her childhoodhomeofNew Lambton Heightspursuingher most promisingwork yet.
The cancer research fellowat the Hunter Medical Research Institute and the University of Newcastlehas received one of two $50,000 Metcalf Prizes from the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia for“early-career leadership” in the field of stem-cell science.
The awardrecognises Dr Lee’swork in creatingamethod of identifying rare and “rogue” cancer cells, which she believes may help scientists developnew ways of killingcancers that are resistant tochemotherapy.
HUNT: Dr Heather Lee at the lab at Hunter Medical Research Institute. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.
“One ofthe big problems withtreating canceris that thecancer can change and it can come back,” Dr Lee said.
“When a cancer returnsthis is thought to be driven by rare cancer cells thathave special propertiesthat allow them to surviveinitial chemotherapy.
“We want to studythesereal cellsusing single cell analysis, and hopefullyidentify new ways of stopping cancers from coming back.”
Dr Lee’s current research into an aggressiveform of blood cancer, called acute myeloidleukaemia, uses a techniqueshe developed with colleagues in Cambridge to read the genetic sequence of individual cells.
STEM-CELL THEORY: A diagram showing the theory that catching cancer cells with rare properties or ‘cancer stem-cells’ is more effective than targetting other cancer cells. Picture: Public domain
The method also identifies“chemical flags” that govern which parts of the sequence the cell uses to function.
“The thing about this technique is that we can study one cell at a time, whereaspreviously we had to studythousands ofcells at a time.So now we can see differences between individual cells,” Dr Lee said.
The techniquewas particularly pertinent to cancer research, she said,because cancer cells often have chemical markers in the wrong place whencompared to surrounding tissue.
“The chemical flags make sure the cell’sdoingthe job it’s meant to be doing,” she said.
“So the cell starts misbehaving or starts growing more rapidly or failing to perform the properfunction.”
SEARCHING FOR SOLUTIONS: Dr Heather Lee at the lab at Hunter Medical Research Institute. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.
Dr Lee is currently using her ability tostudy the diversityin leukaemia cells to understand why some cells are resistant to treatment.
“No one has had the opportunity to look at how individual cells respond tothe drug until now,” she said.
The Merewether High School alumnussaid she felt “privileged” to conduct the researchin her hometown.
“We have quite abit of freedom here and the strength ofresearch in Newcastleis that it’s relativelysimple to work with clinicians,” she said.
“Personally, I had a daughterin theUK and it just makes a worldof difference tobe back home close to two sets of grandparents.”
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Mark Milligan (c) is the most capped player in the Socceroos squad for the game against South Korea.Mark Milligan couldn’t be happier to be finally achieving his ambition of playing professionally in the United Kingdom.
The 33-year-old contemplated retirement after the World Cup in Russia but realised a life-long goal in August when he signed with Scottish Premiership club Hibernian.
After spells in China, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, playing in a professional European league has been everything Milligan hoped for.
“I’m loving my football at the minute,” Milligan, who has made an instant impact for Hibs including captaining the club last weekend against Aberdeen, said.
“It took me a long time to get into the UK and even getting Hibs across the line wasn’t really smooth sailing in terms of visas and things like that.
“Getting it done and now being over there, being in that environment day-to-day, it’s been very enjoyable.”
Milligan’s move to Hibernian has also ensured he’s fully match fit for Australia’s friendlies against South Korea and Lebanon.
Those games are the final chance Milligan and company to impress Arnold before the Asian Cup title defence in the UAE in January.
Milligan was part of the successful 2015 Asian Cup campaign – which included victory over South Korea in the final but defeat to the same opposition in a group stage fixture at Suncorp Stadium.
“We’ve got a score to settle, they did us here in the group stages,” Milligan said.
“We all get extremely excited when we get the chance to come back to Australia and play.
“I hope the fans feel the same and come out in big numbers.”
RESULT: Newcastle trampolinist Ty Swadling (far right) on the World Championships podium in Russia with his bronze medal from the men’s synchronised event. Picture: SuppliedTy Swadling only just made the national trials following the birth of his son, but the trampolinistwill return home to Newcastle with aWorld Championships medal.
The 30-year-old, who trains out of Eastlake Trampoline Sports at Belmont under long-time coach Brett Austin, claimed the international bronze with Australian teammate Dominic Clarke in the men’s synchronised event in SaintPetersburg, Russia, on the weekend.
Swadling and Clarke scored 51.27 in the final, finishing behind Belarus and France.
He was sixth in the same discipline with brother Shaun in the US four years ago. They also combined for a synchronised bronze at the Minsk World Cup in 2014.
Australia won a team bronze at the World Championships in Belarus in 2013.
The 2018 Hunter Sporting Hall of Fame inductee qualified for the current national team in October,travelling to the Gold Coast for selections two days after first child Cooper was born.
The Australian trampoline squad are scheduled to havea training camp in Japan over Christmas. The Olympics will be held in Tokyo in 2020.
“It’s not everyday you win a World Championships medal,” Swadling posted on social media.
“I could not be happier for the opportunity to compete alongside such a superstar Dominic Clarke in such a high quality final.
“I’m proud to wear the green and gold and grateful for the experience.”
Meanwhile, the Australian Gymnastics Championships will remain in Melbourne for the next two years with the 2019 event taking place from May 20 to June 4.
TEAMMATES: Supercars drivers Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard in the Newcastle 500 home straight on Tuesday. Track construction continues ahead of next week’s season-ending race. Picture: Simon McCarthy Title aspirant Scott McLaughlin may bein the spotlight ahead of next weekend’s season-decidingNewcastle 500, but the role of teammate Fabian Coulthard has come into sharp focus for the finalSupercars round.
Coulthard is seventh on the overall standings and out of the championship race, but the 36-year-old will play a crucial part in helping fellow Shell V-Power Racing driver McLaughlin attempt to keep nearest rival Shane Van Gisbergen at bay andbreakthrough in 2018.
And being the “ultimate wingman” isn’t a new concept for Coulthard.
PRIZE:Paralympian Maddi Elliott wins Supercars “hot lap”
“Obviously we sacrifice our position,” Coulthard said while inspecting the track in Newcastle on Tuesday.
“We’ve done it a few rounds this year –Gold Coast, Bathurst and places like that where we’ve been in a good position but we’ve done what we can to help the 17 [McLaughlin].
“Be it by pitting, not pitting me and pitting Scotty so he doesn’t get stacked and things like that.
“We’ll help out where we can and obviously you need to be fast enough to do that.
“If we’re fast enough, like we were last year, I think I’ll be the ultimate wingman.”
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Twelve months ago Coulthard, who was a career-best third in the driver’s championship last year, finishedsecond behind McLaughlin in Saturday’s race of the inaugural Newcastle 500.
Coulthard retired from Sunday’s race with a driveshaft issue andMcLaughlin copped a controversiallast-lap penalty as rival Jamie Whincupclaimednot only the chequered flag but the 2017 silverware.
This time around approaching the Newcastle 500, McLaughlin leads Van Gisbergen by 14 points.
“I’m just going to be my normal self,” McLaughlin said.“I don’t want to change anything because that’s the reason why we’ve got here.”
MEDALS: Supercars drivers Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard with Maddi Elliott (left) in Newcastle on Tuesday. Picture: Simon McCarthySupercars drivers Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard knew they were meeting a Newcastle 500 competition winner at Fort Scratchley on Tuesday, but they didn’t expect the Paralympic medals.
Title hopeful McLaughlin and teammate Coulthard were quite impressed with the golden haul they were shown by Maitland’s Maddi Elliott, who will be taken on a “hot lap” of the trackFriday week.
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“I think I made their day,” Elliott said.
But it wasn’t Elliott’s achievements in the swimming pool that has put the two-time Paralympianin the V8 passenger seat, it was simply a bit of luck.
The self-confessed Supercars fan, who turned 20 earlier this month, had entered multipleonline competitions before being randomly selected for this prize.
SPEED: Two-time Paralympian Maddi Elliott overlooks the Newcastle 500 track at Fort Scratchley on Tuesday. Picture: SImon McCarthy
“I’ve actually been a Supercars fan for at least four years, if not more, and I’ve entered that many competitions since 2013, 2014 that it’s not funny.
“I don’t even know which competition I won, but it was obviously a good one. I’m really excited for it next week.”
Elliott, who as a teenager claimednine Paralympic medals acrossLondon 2012 and Rio 2016, said she was “an adrenaline junkie” and looking forward to “a completely different thrill”.
AUTOGRAPHS: Maitland’s Maddi Elliott gets her Supercars Monopoly board signed by driver Fabian Coulthard in Newcastle on Tuesday. Picture: Simon McCarthy
McLaughlin and Coulthard, with Shell V-Power Racing, also signed Elliott’s limited edition Supercars Monopoly board.
No driver has yet to be assigned for the “hot lap”, but Elliott’s favourite isChaz Mostert.
The second edition of the season-ending Newcastle 500 will take place from November 23 to 25.
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