The Cancer Council NSW has awarded Professor Elgene Lim from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and UNSW Medicine & Health the prestigious Sally Crossing AM Award 2022 for an Outstanding Outcome in Cancer Research. The award recognises his contributions to breast cancer research and care.

“It is an honour to receive an award in Sally Crossing's name, as her altruism embodied the best of humanity,” Prof. Lim said. “My team will use the award to further our research in finding new therapies for patients with hormone receptor positive breast cancer, leveraging on our Cancer Council NSW funded clinical trial.”

Prof. Lim is Head of the Connie Johnson Breast Cancer Research Lab at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, a translational research lab that performs clinically focused research in close partnership with patients.

This close collaboration with patients through St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney and the Kinghorn Cancer Centre has resulted in the establishment of a program to develop a bank of breast cancer models using tissue donated from patients. Importantly, many of the models were established from patients who had already received standard therapies, which allows Prof. Lim and other researchers to study the effects of therapy resistance in cancer cells.

One of the major outputs from Prof. Lim’s research program has been the repurposing of hormonal therapies for the treatment of hormone receptor positive breast cancer. While endocrine therapies that target the oestrogen receptor have been a very effective treatment, a small but significant number of patients develop resistance to these medications and require new strategies and approaches.

Using the patient-derived models, Prof. Lim and his collaborators published a series of high-impact research which showed the interplay between progesterone receptors and androgen receptors with oestrogen receptors. Based on these findings, the team was able to successfully repurpose two medications to treat breast cancer that have estrogen receptors.

Dean of UNSW Medicine & Health, Scientia Professor Vlado Perkovic congratulated Prof. Lim on receiving the Sally Crossing AM Award.

“This award recognises Professor Lim’s research and outcomes which have improved the lives of those affected by breast cancer.

“I look forward to seeing the outcomes of future research undertaken by Professor Lim and his team which will help us better understand why breast cancer treatment resistance occurs,” Prof. Perkovic said.

The Cancer Council NSW and Cancer Voices NSW presented Prof. Lim the Sally Crossing AM Award in recognition of the impact of his research on patient outcomes. The award is dedicated to the memory of the late Sally Crossing AM, who was a pioneer and advocate for consumer involvement in cancer research.