Cancer Prevention Target for Campbell Fellowship Award

Press Release – Cornwall Park Trust Board

Cancer Prevention Target for Campbell Fellowship Award Researcher

10 August 2017 – At a time of a rapid rise in oral cancers in New Zealand, this year’s Sir John Logan Campbell Medical Fellowship has been awarded to a young Auckland researcher, Dr Carol Chelimo, hailed as a rising star in her field.

A researcher at the University of Auckland interested in the prevention of cancers related to HPV (Human Papillomaviruses), particularly oral and cervical cancers, Dr Chelimo will use the award to work with a leading international team in this area led by Doctor Eduardo Franco at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

With cancers linked to oral HPV infection rising rapidly – mainly among males – she aims to both contribute to the McGill research while seeking to add to strategies for preventing cancer in New Zealand.

“I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity as an early career researcher. It means a lot to me and I want to use it to both learn from and contribute to the work being done in Canada and in efforts in New Zealand towards cancer prevention,” she said.

Described as a “rising star” in this field by Dr Franco, Dr Chelimo completed her PhD in 2012, and is the Principal Investigator on a research project examining the prevalence of oral HPV infection in 18-64 year old males and females in Auckland.

HPV remains the most common sexually transmitted infection causing certain types of cancers and warts, although new moves to address this in January 2017 have seen New Zealand adopt the most comprehensive and progressing HPV vaccination program worldwide, offering free HPV vaccination to 9-26 year old males and females.

In New Zealand about 600 people get throat cancer per year. Around 30% of these people die from their cancer.

The head of the selection committee for the Sir John Logan Campbell Medical Trust, Adrienne Young-Cooper, said they were delighted to award this year’s Fellowship to Dr Chelimo to support her work in this important area at McGill.

“Sir John Logan Campbell was a generous philanthropist, and bequeathed Cornwall Park as a charitable trust. The Campbell Fellowship is a gift he would be proud of as he was a doctor himself.”

The Campbell Fellowship is an annual award of between $15,000 – $25,000 to medical researchers at The University of Auckland’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences to support two to three months overseas study and research.

It was founded last year by the Sir John Logan Campbell Medical Trust which is funded by the charitable endowment left by Sir John Logan Campbell and administered by the Cornwall Park Trust Board. This is the second year an award has been made.

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