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Research into endometrial cancer and cancer therapies gets a boost

Today, the Cancer Society of New Zealand is pleased to announce a boost for research into endometrial cancer and cancer therapies. It funds three Post-Doctoral Fellowships, which can potentially transform treatment outcomes for cancer patients.

One of the researchers who receives funding is Dr. Anastasiia Artuyants (a member of the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre at the University of Auckland). Her research focuses on endometrial cancer, the most common gynaecological cancer type in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The incidence of endometrial cancer is rising in New Zealand, particularly in younger people. This rise is linked to an increase in obesity and metabolic diseases and significantly affects Pacific women.

Anastasiia’s research will focus on biomarker tests that can significantly improve the health care of these women by providing a simple way to detect endometrial cancer early.

Dr. Anastasiia Artuyants says: “I am very grateful to the Cancer Society for supporting my research. This is a unique opportunity to combine my diverse research interests and skills into a single project that has a true potential to benefit women’s well-being directly.”

In addition, the Cancer Society of New Zealand has funded Dr. Harikrishnan Kurup (Massey University). Harikrishnan’s research will focus on addressing drug resistance in cancer by developing new cancer drugs to make existing cancer drugs more effective. Dr. Kevin Ly (University of Otago) received funding from Cancer Society Central Districts Division for his research into predicting a patient’s response to immunotherapy.   

Cancer Society Medical Director Dr Kate Gregory says: “Research is the first step towards reducing cancer rates and improving the chance of cure. We contribute to addressing this global problem by funding young and talented cancer researchers from across New Zealand who investigate new ways to diagnose and treat cancer. None of this would be possible without the generous support we receive from New Zealanders.”

The Cancer Society is one of the largest private funders of cancer research in New Zealand. Over the last 10 years, the Society has invested over 50 million dollars in total into research.

The National Research Grant Round 2023 is now open. This year, the Cancer Society is accepting applications for Research Grants, Post-Doctoral Fellowships, and PhD Scholarships.

Find out more about the National Research Grant Round 2023

Detailed summaries of the funded Post-Doctoral Fellowships are available here:

Dr. Anastasiia Artuyants
Dr. Harikrishnan Kurup
Dr. Kevin Ly

Video: Dr Harikrishnan Kurup talks about his research to combat drug resistance in cancer


Background information

About the National Research Grant Round 2022: Post-Doctoral Fellowships

The Cancer Society is a major funder of life-saving and world-class cancer research through our National Research Grants Programme. The aim is to fund high-quality research across the cancer continuum, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and supportive care.

The National Scientific Advisory Committee, with oncology and public health experts, assessed the applications.

The members of the National Scientific Advisory Committee are: Dr Melanie McConnell (Chair), Dr George Laking, Dr Kate Gregory, Professor Chris Bullen, Professor Richard Edwards, Professor Gabi Dachs, Dr Moana Tercel, Dr Sharon Pattison, Professor Bridget Robinson and Professor Peter Browett.

For more information

Linda Heerink
Communications Advisor | Cancer Society of New Zealand
021 172 8036

About the Cancer Society of New Zealand

The Cancer Society of New Zealand is the country's leading organisation dedicated to reducing the incidence of cancer and ensuring the best cancer care for New Zealanders. We are committed to working with communities and decision makers by providing leadership and advocacy in cancer control, with core services in information and support, research and health promotion.