The Award program, now in its third year, is dedicated to the memory of the late Sally Crossing AM (1946-2016). Sally was a pioneer and tireless advocate for consumer involvement in cancer research, ensuring meaningful involvement from community members – who have been directly and indirectly affected by cancer – are able to contribute to research and outcomes.
The award recognises the outcomes achieved by Professor George arising from research previously funded by Cancer Council, with strong consumer involvement, and which has improved the lives of those affected by cancer.
Professor George is a renowned research scientist who studies liver disease and liver cancer. He contributes to international clinical trials on therapeutics for liver diseases, and leads a program of research on viral hepatitis, fatty liver disease, liver fibrosis, immunology, and the prevention and management of liver cancer.
Liver cancer mortality continues to increase
Liver cancer is one of the top 10 causes of cancer death in Australia, but there have been no new first-line treatments developed in the past decade. Sadly, the survival rate for patients is very poor, with only around 19% of people living for five years or more after diagnosis. Every day, we see patients with large, inoperable tumours, and we know what their outcome will be.
Unfortunately, liver cancer has a high rate of recurrence. The reason cancers recur is that there is a population of stem cells, comprising less than 1% of the tumour, that are extremely resistant to treatment.
Professor George is the Director of the Storr Liver Centre and aims to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that drive liver diseases and liver cancer, with the ultimate goal of developing effective preventive strategies or treatments that cure the disease.
His research has a strong translational component, linking laboratory and clinical research. In his current research efforts Professor George and his team are investigating a new way to combat drug resistance in liver cancer.
Around two thirds of liver cancer cases in Australia are attributable to viral hepatitis, and occur mostly in CALD, Aboriginal and disadvantaged populations. There is now robust evidence that curing hepatitis C and suppressing hepatitis B (with available treatments) leads to a 60-90% reduction in the risk for development of liver cancer, while surveillance and early detection leads to curative therapy. Without surveillance, these cancers present late and are not amenable to treatment.
Professor George will receive $50,000 to further his research endeavours.
In memory of Sally Crossing AM
The award was made possible through the generosity of the Belalberi Foundation, a foundation established by the family of the late Sally Crossing AM (1946-2016). Sally was a pioneer and tireless advocate for patient-centred medicine and the first consumer appointed to the Cancer Council Board. She advocated strongly and continuously for training in consumer advocacy – and for the inclusion of consumers in research.
Cancer Council NSW acknowledges the extraordinary support of the Belalberi Foundation and the Crossing family in conferring this award.