Dr Ash­leigh Poh

AGE 29 PAN­CRE­ATIC CAN­CER RE­SEARCHER AT THE OLIVIA NEW­TON- JOHN CAN­CER RE­SEARCH I NSTITUTE

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

Pan­cre­atic can­cer kills al­most 3000 Aus­tralians every year and has one of the worst sur­vival rates at just 7 per cent.

Dr Poh is tar­get­ing a pro­tein known as haematopoi­etic cell ki­nase (HCK), which is found in a type of im­mune cell called a macrophage. She has dis­cov­ered the more HCK a macrophage cell has, the bet­ter they are at help­ing can­cer cells sur­vive.

“We have a drug that tar­gets HCK and re­duces tu­mour growth in six dif­fer­ent tu­mours, in­clud­ing pan­cre­atic,” she said. “It works by stop­ping the abil­ity of the im­mune cell to pro­mote tu­mour growth.”

She credits her sci­ence teach­ers for in­spir­ing her to pur­sue her stud­ies but her mo­ti­va­tion now is the pa­tients she meets.

“I have lost fam­ily mem­bers to can­cer so I have a per­sonal mo­ti­va­tion, but was con­tin­u­ously mo­ti­vated by the pa­tients we meet,” she said.

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