Otago researchers benefit from funding

Dr Allamanda Faatoese. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED/ODT FILES
Dr Allamanda Faatoese. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED/ODT FILES
Dr Cameron Lacey
Dr Cameron Lacey
Dr Jason Gurney
Dr Jason Gurney
Prof Stephen Robertson
Prof Stephen Robertson
Prof Parry Guilford
Prof Parry Guilford

Investigating the impact of diabetes on access to cancer services, improving the health of Maori affected by psychosis, and a new stomach cancer drug delivery system are some of the areas of University of Otago research to receive new Health Research Council funding.

In total, 13 projects have been given project grant funding totalling more than $13million.

Among those to receive funding was Dr Jason Gurney, of the department of public health on the university’s Wellington campus.

Dr Gurney secured just under $800,000 across two years for his study to investigate the relationship between growing diabetes cases and the co-occurrence of cancer.

“The project will provide key new evidence of the current and future trajectory of cancer and diabetes co-occurrence for Maori and Pacific peoples,” Dr Gurney said in the statement.

“It will also identify parts of the cancer pathway where Maori and Pacific patients with diabetes may not be accessing best-practice care.”

Prof Parry Guilford, of the department of biochemistry, was looking to develop a system that would enable drugs used for the treatment of stomach cancer, or its precursors, to go through the surface of the stomach.

At present these drugs went through the blood, but could have side effects on areas such as bone marrow, the lower gastrointestinal tract, or the liver, he said.

Other researchers to secure funding were Dr Cameron Lacey and Dr Allamanda Faatoese, of the Christchurch campus, and Prof Stephen Robertson, of the Otago campus.

Dr Lacey was awarded $1.2million to improve the physical health of Maori living with psychosis, while Dr Faatoese received $1.1million to investigate how peptides near the heart are measured in Pasifika and Pakeha New Zealanders.

Prof Robertson secured $1.2million to investigate ways of improving genetic diagnosis for children in New Zealand.

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