Cancer experts swap notes in Noosa meet

NOOSA could hold the key to finding a cure for leukaemia.

The world's foremost specialists in leukaemia have congregated in Noosa for what's tipped to be "one of the best" pioneering cancer research meetings.

It is the sixth New Directions in Leukaemia Research meeting and more than 200 international and Australian researchers will hear the latest findings into the blood cancer.

The last meeting was in 2014 and was described by Professor Charles Mullighan as "one of the best".

In addition, the meeting will cover other serious illness such as myelodysplastic syndrome and myeloma.

Leukaemia Foundation head of research and advocacy, Dr Anna Williamson said the understanding of blood cancers was more advanced at the "molecular level" than any other solid tumours.

The benefits of immunotherapy, a more subtle approach to killing cancer, would also be looked at.

"It works by getting the naturally occurring defences against cancer working again, then hopefully they will continue to work and keep the cancer under control or eradicate it," Dr Williamson said.

Leukaemia research has been the pioneer that has guided a lot of other research.

"The first genetic abnormality that was discovered to cause a cancer was in a leukaemia," Dr Williamson said.

This discovery has driven a raft of therapies called 'targeted therapies' across all cancers.

"All this research shows the amazing complexity of our bodies.

"By profiling cancer genes and the factors that impact on them, we can search databases to find existing or new therapies."

The meeting is unique as it "builds a bridge between the laboratory scientists, the clinical researchers and clinicians treating patients". "It's a conscious effort to bring this group together in a setting that provides a lot of opportunities for networking," she said.


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