School of Medical Sciences


Riding to conquer cancer

Members of the ACSRC are taking part in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. This ride involves a two day 200km bike ride on 16/17 November with funds raised being directed to the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre.

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Professor Bill Denny

Trained at Auckland and Oxford Universities as a medicinal chemist/drug designer. Co-founding scientist of Proacta Therapeutics, and co-PI in the Centre for Molecular Bioscience, University of Auckland. Past-President of the NZ Society for Oncology and the NZ Institute of Chemistry. Rutherford Medallist of the Royal Society of NZ, and Adrian Albert Medallist of the UK Royal Society of Chemistry. Officer of the NZ Order of Merit for services to cancer research.

Bill leads the Medicinal Chemistry Group at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre.

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Professor Bill Wilson

Bill is a co-director of the ACSRC and a cancer survivor (Melanoma). His core areas of expertise are drug discovery/development, cancer pharmacology, radiation biology, tissue culture models and xenograft models.

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Associate Professor Mark Mckeage

Mark McKeage (MBChB, MMedSc, PhD, FRACP) is an Assoc Prof in Clincal Pharmacology and Medical Oncology Specialist at Auckland City Hospital. Previously he worked at The Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden Hospital (London UK) and the Prince of Wales Hospital, a teaching hospital of the University of New South Wales. His research interests are concerned with preclinical and clinical investigations of the clinical pharmacology and development of novel anticancer drugs. He has had a key role in the development of several new cancer treatments, including satraplatin (JM216) and 5,6-dimethyl-4-acetic acid (DMXAA, ASA404).

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Professor Bruce Baguley

Bruce is a Professor at the University and a member and past Director of the Centre. He is particularly involved in the development of improved treatments for cancer patients and has been closely involved in a number of projects in which new anticancer drugs have been developed in the laboratory and then tested in clinical trials with cancer patients. He is doing the ride because he thinks that in order to continue effective cancer research in Auckland we will need generous support from the public, and this is one way to send out the message

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Associate Professor Adam Patterson

A/Professor Adam Patterson is group leader of the Translational Therapeutics Team based in the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre. He has dedicated his life to cancer research with a focus on discovering ground breaking treatments to help cancer suffers. Adam is participating in the ride to help make a difference to cancer patient’s lives.

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Marjan Askarian-Amiri

Working as a research fellow in ACSRC, the focus of her research is on melanoma and breast cancer with the aim of developing better diagnostic tools for early detection. The funds raised by RTCC will help to reduce the impact and incidence of cancer by providing better therapeutic and diagnostic tools. 

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Jeff Smaill

Senior research fellow and Medicinal Chemistry Group Leader at the ACSRC. Jeff is heavily involved in commercial drug development programmes with both University start-up and large pharmaceutical companies. His research is focused on the development of protein kinase inhibitors to treat cancer. Jeff has been involved with three new drugs that have entered human clinical trial. The latest, called PR610, is currently being tested at Auckland and Waikato Hospitals. Jeff is participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer to assist with the desperate need of additional funding to continue research.

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Sarah and Daniel McManaway

Sarah is currently working as a research technician in the Experimental Therapeutics Group at the ACSRC. Sarah is doing the Ride to Conquer Cancer in the memory of my Father-in-Law, lost to cancer at the age of 44. Sarah's husband Daniel will also be taking part in the ride.

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Shevan Silva

Shevan is a PhD student working with Adam Patterson on the PR610 project. Shevan’s main motivation to do the ride was to learn how to ride a bike (yes, at 26) and at the same time to raise some much needed money for the Cancer Society.

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Chris Guise and Emma Deeks

Chris is a cancer scientist working in the translational therapeutics team at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre. His goal is to develop new drugs and therapies with the aim of making a difference in the fight against cancer. Most people will be affected by cancer in some way, either directly or through knowing a friend or family member who has been diagnosed with the disease. Chris lost his mother to cancer a few years ago, and Emma, his wife, recently lost a close friend to the disease too. Chris and Emma both have strong personal reasons for taking part in the Ride to Conquer Cancer and are keen to do what they can to fight this devastating disease.

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Petr Tomek

Petr came to New Zealand from Czech Republic to study his PhD degree at Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre. He is a passionate scientist, sportsman and pianist in one person. "We are on a good way to conquer cancer, but we need more funding which is tight at the moment." Petr has decided to use his musical skills to form the group which is fundraising money for cancer research through concerts and performances. They have been very successful recently and part of the money they raised goes to support Petr in his Ride. "I want to do this ride since its another good opportunity to show cancer that if you go hard it doesnt stand a chance! Its kind of spirit all riders need! The RTCC is also a great way to medialise cancer research which is critical. People should know research is not running on used batteries! Im really astonished by the number of people who decided to do this Ride and all raising handsome amount of money. Such an outstanding job, congratulations to everyone! We will definitely Conquer Cancer!"

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Kendall Carlin

Kendall started working at the centre in 2010. One of her favourite aspects of being part of the research centre is its connection to Cancer Society New Zealand. Kendall has worked in several labs, but events like Daffodil Day and Relay for Life have given a greater meaning to why we do the work to develop new therapies. Kendall wanted to do the ride to continue supporting Cancer Society New Zealand and the patients and families they in turn help.

Real Research Riders


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Associate Professor Michael Hay

Associate Professor Michael Hay is a medicinal chemist/drug designer in the ACSRC and has been working to develop prodrugs that are selectively activated within the tumour microenvironment. Participating in this ride is a great way to connect with the public and communicate how they can impact on ground-breaking research carried out in New Zealand.

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Jack Flanagan

Jack is a biochemist in the ACSRC and contributes to the design and discovery of new compounds through the application of computer based modelling methods. Jacks involvement is driven by the loss of family members to cancer, and also because of the opportunity to personally connect with those who have generously contributed time, effort and funds to this cause. We really appreciate it.

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Julie Spicer

Julie has been involved in several medicinal chemistry projects involving the design and synthesis of small-molecule inhibitors of various biological targets. Currently Julie is  working on molecules which inhibit perforin, a protein which is a component of the immune system. Julie is riding to conquer cancer as it is too big a disease to ignore.The funds raised will be going towards the end of cancer.

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Moana Tercel

Moana is currently a Senior Research Fellow investigating bioreductive drugs that target the tumour microenvironment. She is Principal Investigator of a major New Economy Research Fund contract (2007-2011), and an Associate Investigator in the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery. Moana is doing the ride to bring an end to cancer.