Associate Professor Kerrie McDonald is the Cure Brain Cancer Head of Biomarker and Translational Research at UNSW. Kerrie has been working in the field of neuro-oncology for over 10 years, and is aiming to provide personalised medicine to patients with brain cancer by finding the mutations that are causing their brain tumour, and using this information to personalise the treatments that they are offered.
Brain cancer is one of the most devastating forms of cancer for patients, their families and their carers. It is not preventable by any known lifestyle changes and there has been no significant improvement to five-year relative survival in over 30 years. There is currently no cure for glioblastoma and progression is usually rapid and aggressive.
Professor Kerrie McDonald and her team liaise closely with neurosurgeons, and at the time of a patient’s operation, take a piece of the patient’s tumour and bring it back to the lab. There, the researchers study the tumour and test different treatments, so that they can report their findings back to the treating clinicians.
The discovery of new biomarkers with capacity to predict patient response to treatment is a key priority of Professor Kerrie McDonald and her team. Every patient and every tumour is different, so matching the right and most effective treatment to the right patient is crucial for improving survival times. The lab achieves this through careful biobanking of the tumour tissue, whole genome sequencing of the tumour and state of the art mouse models to show that the treatment is effective.
All funds raised through “Love for Lachie” will be directed toward the personalised medicine research conducted by Associate Professor Kerrie McDonald and her team.
Associate Professor Kerrie McDonald