Leukaemia researcher receives first Bridgestone Australia Career Establishment Grant

Bridgestone’s Australian subsidiary has presented its inaugural Career Establishment Grant to a Queensland researcher working on a cure for blood cancer. The Career Establishment Grant is part of the National Research Program operated by Australia’s peak body for blood cancer, the Leukaemia Foundation. The research grant was presented to Dr Colm Keane of the University of Queensland’s Diamantina Institute on 17 February.

Andrew Moffatt, managing director of Bridgestone Australia, praised Dr Keane’s dedication to finding a cure. “We are very proud that the inaugural Bridgestone Career Establishment Grant has been awarded to Dr Keane and will enable him to carry out his nominated project. Talented research scientists like Dr Keane have the potential to make a real difference to patients living with blood cancers, but they need support to do so. We hope Dr Keane’s initial findings, which led him to this most recent research project, will come to fruition and lead to a cure.”

The grant was made possible through funds raised by the sale of Bridgestone’s special edition blue valve caps as part of the Leukaemia Foundation’s ‘Light the Night’ initiative, of which Bridgestone Australia is principal partner. Dr Keane said he was extremely grateful for Bridgestone’s support, which will allow him to explore the role of the immune system in lymphoma.

“I am very thankful to Bridgestone for funding my research project and honoured to be the inaugural recipient of the Bridgestone Career Establishment Grant,” he said. “My project will investigate how the immune system protects people from lymphoma and contributes to some people being cured of this disease. I want to confirm my initial exciting findings in a subtype of aggressive lymphoma and see if immune response is predictive in other lymphomas.”

Dr Keane aims to develop laboratory tests that will predict if a patient’s immune system is capable of eradicating their tumour with standard therapy. If not, he will postulate that a new type of cancer therapy – immune checkpoint therapy – will cure patients who fail the standard treatment.

Leukaemia Foundation CEO Adrian Collins said the grant was an extension of Bridgestone’s longstanding partnership with the Leukaemia Foundation. “Bridgestone Australia has been a passionate supporter of the Leukaemia Foundation for 29 years – providing Patient Transport Vehicles, assisting with patient accommodation and supporting the organisation’s various initiatives. By sponsoring this grant, Bridgestone has opened up another opportunity for Australian researchers to pursue their passion and search for cures for blood cancer. We sincerely thank everyone at Bridgestone Australia for their generous support of our work to reduce the impact of blood cancer on Australian families.”

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