New Rotary Oncology Award winner

20 March 2017

Auckland medical oncologist Rosalie Stephens has this month been awarded the Ross Craig Oncology Award from the Newmarket Rotary Charitable Foundation.

Stephens is the latest in a long line of clinicians to receive the award. Previous recipients include Deborah Wright, Jon Mathy and Nicole Kramer.

The Ross Craig Oncology Award is targeted towards Auckland medical, surgical and pathology registrars who treat patients with cancer. It provides an opportunity for these mid-career doctors to step out of clinical life and undertake first-hand research into the genomic abnormalities that underlie cancer. It is a program of 4-6 weeks (or equivalent over a longer period) intensive research training and activity.

The award is named after Auckland lawyer Ross Craig, who sadly passed away in 2014. Ross was a Newmarket Rotarian for 38 years, a founding trustee of the Newmarket Rotary Charitable Foundation and an enthusiastic supporter of this faculty.

Dr Stephens’ study is part of the National Science Challenge 3: Healthier Lives project and aims to identify non-invasive disease biomarkers in metastatic melanoma patients in order to improve patient outcomes by detection of relapse, earlier than current tests.

The clinical part of the study involves the collection of blood and tumour tissues from consented patients with advanced melanoma who are undergoing treatment in the Auckland region.

Typically these patients are treated by surgery or drug therapy but relapse from failed treatment is common. Early detection of relapse could lead to improved patient outcomes by allowing a patient and their oncologist to more rapidly reconsider treatment options.

Congratulations to Dr Stephens and we also wish to extend our gratitude for Newmarket Rotary’s ongoing support of this award and of our faculty.