fbpx Friday, 27 October, 12:00 pmThursday, Jan 1, 12:00 am

2023 Patron’s Lunch

Supporting breast cancer research at Ballarat's Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute.

When: Friday, 27 October, 12:00 pm
Where: Sofitel on Collins
Tickets: $200

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Primrose Lady Potter AC (Patron), Professor George Kannourakis and Mrs Paula Nicholson with Event Ambassador Eddie McGuire AM invite you to the Inaugural Lady Potter Patron’s Lunch for the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute.

The event will occur during Breast Cancer Awareness month, supporting breast cancer research at Ballarat’s Institute. This will also be an opportunity to hear about the other novel research occurring at FECRI.

Special guest MC, Dr Nicole Yap, Collaborating Clinician and Specialist Breast Surgeon.


About the Institute

The Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute (FECRI) is in Ballarat. Established in 1998- named after Fiona Elsey (1977-1991).

In 1990, 12-year-old Fiona Elsey was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer.  She underwent treatment at the Royal Children’s Hospital, treated by the then Head of Cancer Research, paediatric oncologist and haematologist, Professor George Kannourakis, who commuted from Ballarat.

At that time, Ewings Sarcoma had a survival rate of 5%. Despite treatment, Fiona’s disease progressed.

When Fiona was very ill; she made Professor Kannourakis promise that he would bring research to Ballarat so that other people would not have to go through what she was going through. Fiona passed away 6th October 1991, aged 14.

Fiona’s courage and inspiration left an inspiring legacy, with her dream growing into a world class cancer research facility in Ballarat.

With excellent facilities, and a tissue bank of over 35,000 samples, the research team are well positioned to undertake patient orientated research. A unifying theme of all the work at FECRI, is based on how the immune system can be redirected to attack cancer cells.

Key projects include Immunology, Breast cancer, Bowel cancer, Brain cancer, Ovarian cancer, Renal Cancer, Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, multiple Myeloma, Prostate cancer, and Langerhans cell histiocytosis. The Institute currently has 2 PhD students and 20 research staff.

Australia’s only regional research institute is an example that innovative research can be done outside of a metropolitan centre. The groups research findings have been published in eminent scientific journals, both nationally, and internationally. Recent results include:

  • Identification of proteins involved in chemo resistance in Ovarian cancer.
  • World first work in describing pregnancy associated plasma protein (PAPPA), in triple negative breast cancer. This research has led to understanding the mechanism for progression of cancer during pregnancy.
  • Discovery on a subset of immune cells in the bowel that can misbehave and release chemical messengers that promote cancer, inhibiting other immune cells.
  • Identification of a new immune cell subset in histiocytic disorders.

The Institute is a beacon of determination; of what is realisable when an implacable community commits to lending its weight and support; and through various guises, raised $40 million over the years.  Funding is sourced from community donations, corporate partnerships, fund-raising events, grants from philanthropic and scientific bodies, and bequests. FECRI received no government funding.

To maintain the forward momentum of the research, the time has now come to extend the profile; for the institute to become a national enterprise, based in regional Ballarat.

For more information or to support through a donation contact (03) 53313101 or events@fecri.org.au.