The Cancer Council NSW has awarded Professor Elgene Lim the prestigious Sally Crossing AM Award for an Outstanding Outcome in Cancer Research recognising his contributions to breast cancer research and care.
Professor Lim is Head of the Connie Johnson Breast Cancer Research Lab at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, a translational research lab that was established in 2015 to perform clinically focused research in close partnership with patients.
This close collaboration with patients through St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney and the Kinghorn Cancer Centre has resulted in the establishment of an ambitious program to develop a bank of breast cancer models using tissue donated from patients. Importantly, many of these xenograft models were established from patients who had already received standard therapies, which allows Professor Lim and other researchers to study the effects of therapy resistance in cancer cells.
This resource has more than 50 models that have served as a national resource for breast cancer researchers and has played a vital role in over 15 national and international research collaborations.
One of the major outputs from Professor Lim’s research program has been the repurposing of hormonal therapies for the treatment of hormone receptor positive breast cancer. While endocrine therapies that target the oestrogen receptor have been a very effective treatment, a small but significant number of patients develop resistance to these medications and require new strategies and approaches.
Using the patient-derived models, Professor Lim and his collaborators published a series of high-impact research which showed the interplay between progesterone receptors and androgen receptors with oestrogen receptors. Based on these findings, the team was able to successfully repurpose two medications to treat ER+ breast cancer.
The Cancer Council NSW and Cancer Voices NSW presented Professor Lim the Sally Crossing AM Award in recognition of the impact of this research on patient outcomes. The award is dedicated to the memory of the late Sally Crossing AM, who was a pioneer and advocate for consumer involvement in cancer research.
Professor Lim is the National Breast Cancer Foundation Endowed Chair, Professor of Medicine, Principal Cancer Theme Lead, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney, and Senior Staff Specialist, St Vincent's Hospital.
This research was supported by Cancer Council NSW.