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QIMR Berghofer scientist wins ASMR award

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute scientist Dr Andrea Schuessler has won an Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) award for her work on a new immunotherapy treatment for an aggressive brain cancer.

Dr Schuessler took out the prestigious Postdoctoral Researcher award at the recent Queensland Health and Medical Research Awards announced in Brisbane.

After completing her PhD at the Institute of Medical Virology and Epidemiology of Virus Diseases at University Hospital Tuebingen in Germany, Dr Schuessler moved to Australia in 2010.

She has been working in the lab of renowned QIMR Berghofer immunologist, Professor Rajiv Khanna for three years.

As first author, she successfully published results last year from a world-first phase I clinical trial evaluating a virus-specific immunotherapy for patients with the deadly brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

“This study was an essential first step in the development of new treatments to improve the outlook for patients with brain cancer,” Dr Schuessler said.

“We tested this new therapy in 10 patients with recurrent GBM and could show that the treatment is absolutely safe and has no major side effects.

“Most importantly, four out of 10 patients showed no signs of the disease recurring.”

Professor Khanna has congratulated his colleague on winning the ASMR award.

“Dr Schuessler has been a vital part of the team working on this very important work,” Professor Khanna said.

“It recognises her exceptional ability to think critically, her thoroughness and dedication and her scientific curiosity.”

QIMR Berghofer’s Dr Sarah Medland, Dr Shin Foong Ngiow, Mitchell Stark and Arabella Young were also finalists in the ASMR awards.