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News and Event

Dr Hilary Byrne Awarded Best Scholar In Training Prize

Dr Hilary Byrne, a Sydney Vital researcher, was recently awarded the Best Scholar in Training Presentation prize at the Association for Radiation Research annual meeting.

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Dr Kelly McKelvey Awarded Sydney Vital Travel Award

Dr Kelly McKelvey, an early-career researcher was invited to present her Matt Callander Beanie for Brain Cancer HMRI Fellowship work funded by the Mark Hughes Foundation at the Association for Radiation Research (ARR) Conference 2018.

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Meet our Scholarship Awardees 2018

At Sydney Vital, we run annual top-up scholarship awards for researchers who propose innovative and outstanding research projects. Our scholarship candidates look to improve examinations for early diagnoses, treatments and quality of life. 

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Dr Aaron Tan Awarded Sydney Vital Travel Award

ASCO is perhaps one of the most anticipated events in the scientific calendar and every year it draws more than 30,000 oncology professionals from around the world to discuss key advances in cancer research.

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Ms Zizhen Ming Awarded Sydney Vital Travel Award

Sydney Vital would like to congratulate Ms Zizhen Ming for being selected as one of the travel award winners in this round, she used the award to support her attendance to the American Association for cancer research 2018.

The American Association for cancer research 2018 (AACR 20188), held at the McCormick Place North/South in Chicago, USA was the 109th annual gathering of AACR, this year focusing on the theme of ‘Driving Innovative Cancer Science to Patient Care.’ As the premier scientific conference in the field of cancer the conference saw over 22,000 cancer researchers, physician-scientists, industry scientists and patient advocates come together to hear the latest talk in cancer research.

Ms Zizhen Ming attended the conference thanks to the travel scholarship awarded by Sydney Vital. Currently a Phd student at Mazquarie University, Zizhen’s primary research interest is in melanoma a cancer that causes 75% of skin cancer death.

At the AACR 2018 Ms Ming presented a poster titled “Multiple signalling pathways are active in BRAF/NRAS wild type melanomas,’ in the session ‘Biomaker Identification and Novel Methods.’ This was the first time Ms Ming had the opportunity to fully present her work at such a prestigious international conference and with content on finding new therapeutic targets for this subgroup of patients in order to provide effective treatment strategies, it generated lots of interest and was an excellent platform to network with other professionals in a similar field.

The program of the AACR 2018 included a variety of topics in cancer research; like drug resistance, immune checkpoints, patient derived xenografts, CRISPO Cas9, genomic profiling, undergoing clinical trials and so on. By attending the conference Ms Ming comments “it’s invaluable and inspired by networking with other researchers overseas, sharing ideas and understanding our limitations to help make further improvements in our study.”









Ms Zizhen Ming

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Katie’s Journey: Neuroendocrine Tumours

Katie Golden will be part of our expert panel on Thursday 9th August at the 2018 Neuroendocrine Tumour Q&A session. As a patient advocate, she represents people in NSW and Australia who have been diagnosed with the disease. Read her story below.

“I am a 44 year old wife and mother of 2 young boys. In early 2011, I was diagnosed with Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumours.

I had suffered many miscarriages in 2009 and 2010. I saw fertility and miscarriages specialists, had blood tests, ultrasounds and a biopsy. Nothing showed up of any concern.

I felt generally nauseous and unwell and started to lose weight. I saw my GP who suggested an ultrasound to look for gall stones.

It was New Year’s Eve 2010 when this ultrasound showed I had spots on my liver and a follow up CT scan that day showed a mass on my pancreas.

I saw my GP the first day surgery reopened in the new year (2011) and she got me in to see a Pancreatic Surgeon who luckily was not on holidays and also happened to be really good.

He looked at my scans and suspected they were Neuroendocrine Tumours which had started in my pancreas and metastasised to my liver.


I didn’t really show many obvious or typical signs or symptoms of this condition.

I had surgery in February 2011 to remove the primary tumour from my Pancreas and they also removed my spleen. I then started monthly injections of Sandostatin which they hoped would suppress tumour growth in my liver and stablise the disease.

In August 2011 I had my first treatment of TACE I had 3 rounds of this treatment and my response was good. Future scans then showed tumours in my bones.

I started on monthly transfusions of Zometa.

In 2012 I started Lutate at St George Hospital. Things seemed under control and then in 2014 more tumours showed up in my liver so I had surgery to removed half of my liver and my gall bladder.

Follow up scans showed tumours had spread to many other areas including bones so I started taking Everolimus to try to keep the disease under control.

By this stage I had both low grade and aggressive tumours.

More Lutate, this time at North Shore Hospital, then more tumours showed up so I had radiation, more TACE, SIRT – some successful and others not. My vascular system wasn’t as simple as it could be so access to the tumours was difficult.

Katie and her family on holiday.

I then went on an Immunotherapy Trial of a drug called PD001. I was on this for 6 months before my tumours got too big that I was taken off this and put onto Folfox which a combination of Chemo.

This has been successful in treating and reducing the FDG tumours in my Liver which is where the majority of my disease is located.

Throughout my journey I have been an active member of the Unicorn Foundation, helping now to run the Sydney Support Group and I also do work with Cancer Council through their Cancer Connect program, most of the referrals coming through the Unicorn Foundation.

I was fortunate enough to go to the European NETs conference in Barcelona this year and this really affirmed how much work The Unicorn Foundation is doing and how lucky we are to have so many Drs with an interest and amazing knowledge of NETs and access to so many treatments.”

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Dr David Chan Awarded Travel Award

Sydney Vital supported Dr David Chan’s attendance to the Congress of the World Federation of Nuclear Medicine and Biology 2018 (WFNMB), this was the 12th congress held in Melbourne, Australia.

The event attracted nuclear medicine physicians, radiologists, medical imaging trainees, physicists, scientists, technologists, nurses and the broader medical scientific community. With the aim to promote further global transactions of molecular medicine incorporating the translation of basic laboratory research to clinical practice and establishment of clinical and technical standards, it provided Dr Chan with the opportunity to showcase his research as a part of a presentation.

The research presented by Dr David Chan was a 3-part symposium in neuroendocrine tumour, including representatives from Royal North Shore Hospital, the Peter MacCullum Cancer Centre and the Zentralkinik Bad Berka. Several systematic reviews/meta-analyses in neuroendocrine tumours performed by the neuroendocrine tumour group in Royal North Shore Hospital were cited as part of the presentation. Furthermore, the ground-breaking research in dual NET grading (the NETPET score, Chan…Bailey Theranostics 2017) was highlighted later in the same session by Dr Singh of the Bad Berka centre.

The program of the WFNMB involved a range of focused plenary sessions, continuing education sessions and a large poster presentation sessions which allowed Dr Chan to gain insight into the latest research.

Keep up-to-date with our scholarships, funding and awards and check out our grant schemes.











Dr David Chan

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Sydney Vital Travel Awards 2018 – CLOSED

Sydney Vital invites applications for Travel Awards to the value of $1,500 for domestic travel and $3,000 for international travel. Our aim is to encourage outstanding PhD students, ECRs, researchers and clinicians from within the Sydney Vital network and institutions to present their scientific research progress at national or international conferences.

Submission Guidelines

Applications must be combined in a single PDF file and must be submitted as attachment in an email to [email protected]. Please use the following naming convention:

Last Name_ First Name_ Travel Award_ Application_2018

Last Name_ First Name_ Travel Award_ Supervisor_2018

Applications will close on Monday 23rd July 2018. Sydney Vital Centre Manager, Suzie Nguyen, can be contacted on 9926 4726 or at [email protected] to assist with any queries.

Download guidelines here:

Sydney Vital_Travel Award_Guidelines_2018_Round 3

Please note, you must be a confirmed member of Sydney Vital with a minimum of 8 weeks membership from the advertising date of this travel application round for your application to be considered. 

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Ms Angela Cho Awarded Sydney Vital Travel Award

With the travel grant awarded to Phd Student Ms Angela Cho, she was able to attend a large international conference with the sole focus on Neuro-oncology which is aligned with the focus of her PhD.

The 22nd Annual Scientific Meeting and Education day of the society for Neuro Oncology focused on the ‘Cancer Moonshots’ program, an initiative instigated by the National Cancer Institute, USA and with $1.8 billion committed funding.

With a diverse program encompassing a wide range of both clinical and research topics, the meeting saw clinicians, basic scientists, nurses and other health care professionals with an interest in neuro-oncology come together to discuss the latest advances in brain tumour research.

Highlights of the meeting included keynote speaker Elizabeth Maher discussing the potential utility of 2-HG imaging in distinguishing pseudoprogression from actual clinical progression, by complementing traditional imaging.

We’d like to congratulate Ms Cho and encourage her to continue her outstanding research. Keep up-to-date with our scholarships, funding and awards and check out our grant schemes.











Ms Angela Cho

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Mr John Delaney Awarded Travel Award

Mr John Delaney

Sydney Vital would like to congratulate Mr John Delaney who was awarded a Travel Grant which supported his attendance to the 12th Annual European Society of Coloproctological (ESCP) scientific meeting in Berlin.

The meeting saw pathologists and surgeons come together to what was its largest annual meeting yet, to enjoy a schedule overflowing with the most current evidence in colorectal surgery. Keynote speakers included Professor Jan Deprest, Professor Paola Giamundo and Professor Harry Sokol.

Mr Delaney commented that Yves Panis of France provided an “early highlight,” outlining the evidence for preoperative bowel preparation. However, the keynote lecture from Professor SØren Laurberg’s presentation “from bedside to bench and back,” was possibly the highlight of the meeting according to Delaney. With insights from Laurbergs’ experience in the challenges and rewards of translational medicine and the intersection between basic sciences and clinical practices, it was an insightful talk with practical applications.

Good work John! Keep up-to-date with our scholarships, funding and awards and check out our grant schemes.

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