For her outstanding research contributions in the field of sarcoma, Dr Mandy Ballinger has been internationally recognised with the 2023 Liddy Shriver Early Career Research Award. The announcement was made on 4 November at the Connective Tissue Oncology Society Annual Meeting in Dublin.
Dr Ballinger is focused on improving clinical practice and outcomes for patients with sarcoma and their families. She is Leader of the Genetic Cancer Risk Group at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Head of Cohorts for the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Centre (Omico) and on the leadership team at the new Centre for Molecular Oncology at the University of New South Wales.
Dr Ballinger’s research focus is to define inherited cancer risk, through large, international patient studies, for which Dr Ballinger has overseen recruitment of more than 5000 families worldwide to date.
Her work in the risk management of Li Fraumeni syndrome, a rare inherited disorder that increases cancer risk, has changed clinical practice internationally and has recently led to an Australian Medicare item number for early cancer detection.
Dr Ballinger developed the Surveillance study in Multi-Organ Cancer prone syndromes (SMOC+ and SMOC Junior), through which she investigates the use of whole-body MRI for surveillance for people at high risk of multi-organ cancer. Much like well-established surveillance practices for common cancers, including mammograms for breast cancer and colonoscopies for bowel cancer, this surveillance approach could improve detection and make earlier intervention possible for patients.
“I’m honoured to be receiving this award. My research and clinical experience have highlighted the need to identify those at cancer risk and translate the findings to meaningful outcomes in patients. I am grateful for the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative and the Connective Tissue Oncology Society’s recognition of this important work,” says Dr Ballinger.The Liddy Shriver Early Career Research Award recipient is selected annually based on track record of early research achievement in the field of sarcoma by a panel of internationally recognised leading researchers in the field.