08 April 2019
Dr Laura Eadie from SAHMRI is the latest recipient of the Peter Nelson Leukaemia Research Fellowship Fund to support her research into T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
Established by former Governor of South Australia, the ‘Lithgow Flash’ The Hon. Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC, CVO, MBE in memory of her husband Peter, the fund has supported some of the state’s best and brightest leukaemia researchers over the past 40 years.
Following the devastating loss of her husband from acute myeloid leukaemia in 1977, Marjorie says she was inspired to raise funds to one day see a world free from the disease. Her passion to make a difference led to the creation of the Peter Nelson Leukaemia Research Fellowship Fund.
Starting from humble beginnings, the Fund has now raised more than $7 million through donations and bequests, with Dr Eadie the 10th researcher to receive funding through the Fellowship.
“I started the fund myself and for eight years travelled the country, sharing our story and encouraging donations from passionate Australians keen to make a difference,” said Marjorie.
“As the fund grew, so did my group of dedicated volunteers, who helped through handwriting letters, organising events and seeking out donations.”
“I couldn’t have done it without them—we worked hard for every dollar we raised. To think that now, more than 40 years on, we have funded 10 research projects is a pretty amazing thing. I know that Peter would have been incredibly proud.”
“The thing about leukaemia is that it can strike children and the elderly and those in the prime of their life like my late husband—it doesn’t discriminate. Even those who survive are in constant fear of relapsing. It’s an insidious disease.”
“I’m incredibly proud of the research that we’ve been able to fund through the Fellowship in South Australia and would like to congratulate Dr Eadie on being the latest successful recipient.”
Through support from the Peter Nelson Leukaemia Research Fellowship Fund over the next three years, Dr Eadie will be able to progress her work in T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (T-ALL).
Most common in children, T-ALL is a genetically complex and high-risk disease affecting people of all ages and is treated by high-dose, multiagent chemotherapy.
Dr Eadie says that the funding through the Peter Nelson Leukaemia Research Fellowship Fund will allow her to investigate alternative targeted treatment options for T-ALL that have fewer long-term side effects.
“T-ALL is an incredibly complex disease with a poor prognosis. Fifteen per cent of children are at risk of primary resistance and up to 30 per cent will relapse within 5 years. In adults, long term outcomes are even worse, with up to 40 per cent of adults failing treatment.”
“Through support from the Peter Nelson Leukaemia Research Fellowship Fund we hope to create a repository of cells which will allow us to experiment and evaluate the success of different targeted therapies for T-ALL.”
“Our hope is that through this funding we will be able to provide clinicians with a suite of new and re-purposed FDA-approved drugs, which will be able to effectively treat the different genetic lesions associated with T-ALL and ultimately, help future patients diagnosed with the disease.”
Administered by Cancer Council SA, the Peter Nelson Leukaemia Research Fellowship has raised more than $7 million since it was first established in 1977. The fellowship supports research into leukaemia in South Australia with the ultimate goal of achieving a future free from the disease.
To find out more visit www.cancersa.org.au/research/research-fellowships/peter-nelson. Donations can also be sent directly to PO Box 929 Unley BC SA 5061.
About the Peter Nelson Leukaemia Research Fellowship Fund
The Peter Nelson Leukaemia Research Fellowship Fund was established by Marjorie Jackson-Nelson—the Lithgow Flash and former Governor of South Australia—in memory of her husband, Australian Olympic cyclist, Peter Nelson, who passed away from leukaemia. The Fund was established to support young researchers, in an accredited research department, to undertake research into leukaemia, with the ultimate goal of finding a cure for this strain of cancer. In 2011 the Fund was entrusted to Cancer Council SA to administer and maintain on Marjorie’s behalf. For more information and to donate visit www.cancersa.org.au/research/research-fellowships/peter-nelson.