Professor Tessa Holyoake, director of the Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre and a Professor of Experimental Haematology, was awarded the £10,000 prize and Evans/Forrest medal in recognition of her work in the understanding, treatment and cure of cancer in Scotland.
Professor Holyoake is an expert in chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), and along with her team at the centre has been responsible for ground-breaking work on cancer stem cells. She plans to use the £10,000 prize to further the centre’s world-changing work.
At the forefront of cancer science for 15 years, Professor Holyoake’s research focuses on the identification and comparison of cancer stem cells with normal cells to identify potential targets for treatment. She has been involved in trial design, patient recruitment, guideline development, policy debate and audit, as well as driving development and implementation of international policy for patient management.
Professor Bob Steele, Chairman of the Scottish Cancer Foundation, said: “This award aims to recognise excellence in reducing the burden of cancer in Scotland and we could not have found a more worthwhile recipient than Professor Holyoake. Her work is of international significance and is focussed on delivering real improvements for patients. It is a fine example of how research in the laboratory is helping at the bedside.”
Professor Holyoake said: “I am both touched and honoured to be the first person to receive the Scottish Cancer Foundation prize in recognition of our work in leukaemia research and cancer stem cells. When I first returned to Scotland from Vancouver in 2000 I had set my heart on establishing a state of the art research centre to help improve the treatment for Scottish patients with a diagnosis of leukaemia. We started small and now have nine research teams across two research centres in Glasgow employing more than 50 students and scientists from all over the world. Our work is well known internationally and we are very proud to have such strong support from the Scottish Cancer Foundation, leukaemia patients and their families.”
The Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre is a world-leading centre for Leukaemia research and is part of the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Cancer Sciences in the College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences. The centre was officially opened in 2008 by Dr Richard Rockefeller, the great grandson of John D Rockefeller.