In May 2017, the establishment of the John Turner Cancer Research Fund at the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute was announced, following a significant 1-million-dollar donation by businessman and philanthropist, John Turner.
The donation made an immediate and significant impact to the growth of the research program at the Institute
Following a career in supply chain management and exporting, Mr Turner founded Rapini Pty Ltd, one of Australia’s largest suppliers of chrome wire storage systems to the Australian health care industry. Mr Turner maintains a major shareholding in the company since its sale in 2010 to Paragon Care. Currently, Mr Turner manages his own private investment company and philanthropic interests.
Mr John Turner said “I am pleased to assist the work of the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute and want to see this donation make a significant difference in something that is very close to me. I am inspired by the work and vision of Professor George Kannourakis and want to see it progress.”
Professor George Kannourakis, Director of the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute said “We are fortunate and humbled to be able to set up the John Turner Research Fund to be used exclusively for projects with the Institute and are thankful. This profoundly generous donation from John will enable a quantum leap in our research to better treat cancers utilising the immune system.”
“As a non-government funded organisation, the Institute relies on the generous support of the community. The John Turner Cancer Research Fund will make a significant difference to our research program” said Professor Kannourakis
The Cancer Research Fund will see the creation of the inaugural John Turner Professorial Cancer Research Fellowship. Professor Nuzhat Ahmed will be the first recipient of this fellowship. Professor Ahmed is an international recognised cancer researcher in ovarian cancer and is undertaking ground-breaking research into the Immunology of ovarian cancer.
The immune system is the first line of defence against any disease. Professor Ahmed’s research is focused in area of ovarian cancer, to understand how and why the immune system of ovarian cancer patients is not able to eradicate the cancer. Currently her research is focused on the differences between responsive and non-responsive ovarian cancer protein cells which could lead to the development of new immune based therapies for treating cancer.
The John Turner Cancer Research Fund will allow the purchase of laboratory equipment and the appointment in coming months of a new post-doctoral fellow and a number of PhD scholarships students. This is instrumental to increasing the volume and speed of the projects.