6 May 2014

40,000 km closer to understanding cancer: AICR funded research

Chris Gruar in Asia
A young Australian man, who has ridden 40,000 km around the world on a bike to raise funds for international cancer research, cycled into Melbourne on Tuesday 6 May to meet scientists at some of Melbourne’s top research institutions. See video featuring Monash researchers Professors Stephen Jane, Jamie Rossjohn, Tony Tiganos and Fabienne Mackay talking about research funded by the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR).
Teacher Chris Gruar, 28, who is originally from Sydney, left Leeds in the north east of England in March 2012, on a world cycling expedition to raise money for the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR). He is aiming to raise $30,000 for AICR in memory of his mother who died of cancer. Chris says cancer is a global concern requiring a global response.

“I chose to raise money for AICR as a charity which funds groundbreaking cancer research throughout the world,” he says. “You only live once, so I set out to see what one man on a bicycle could accomplish. I am now excited to return home to Australia and spread the word about the crucial projects being funded by AICR.”

Chris will spend three days in Melbourne meeting some of the scientists AICR have been funding and to learn more about their work.

Today, Chris will be meeting Dr Colin Clyne, Professor Brendan Jenkins and Professor Bryan Williams, CEO and Institute Director at MIMR-PHI Institute of Medical Research.

Chris will also visit Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, where he will meet Professor David Bowtell, who is using his $381,000 AICR grant to help understand why chemotherapy drugs stop working in women with ovarian cancer, and newly-funded researcher Associate Professor Helena Richardson, who is working to develop new drugs to treat breast cancer driven by mutations in the Ras gene.

On Tuesday, 6 May, Chris will visit the Burnet Institute to meet Dr Meredith O’Keeffe before visiting the Alfred Hospital, where he will meet Head of the Central Clinical School Professor Stephen Jane - working on skin cancer - and Professor Fabienne Mackay, whose AICR funded project is on the restoration of the immune system to fight chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Chris will also spend time with Professors Jamie Rossjohn and Tony Tiganis at the School of Biomedical Sciences, at the Monash Clayton campus. See video profiling their research.

On his final day, on 7 May, Chris will visit The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research to meet Drs Grant Dewson, Kate Sutherland and Tracy Putoczki.

AICR has a long history of funding scientists in Australia, including some very new projects that were recently awarded in April. Overall, Australian institutions have received $16,056,200 from the charity.

Since his departure in 2012, Chris has travelled 37,000km across more than 40 countries, including: Germany, Norway, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and Vietnam.  Chris landed back on Australian soil in February, in Darwin. The final leg of his cycling tour will take him from Melbourne to Canberra and Sydney. Chris is scheduled to arrive in Sydney on 2 June, with Sydney University – where he studied - his official finishing line.

Chris is hoping to raise additional funds to support cancer research, a cause that’s close to his heart. You can support Chris's fundraising at his online donation link and read more about his incredible journey here.

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