Scientists from UNSW's Lowy Cancer Research Centre have been awarded major prizes in this year's prestigious NSW Premier's Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research, the highest cancer research honours in the State.

The awards, sponsored by the NSW Government, come ahead of the Centre's official launch this Friday.

Dr Claire Vajdic, Ms Elizabeth Tindall and a team of researchers led by Professor Levon Khachigian, received their prizes for outstanding research at a gala event in Sydney.

The awards of between $10,000 and $50,000 recognise scientists whose commitment and talent has had a significant impact on cancer treatment, clinical trials, prevention and research.

Professor Khachigian's team, from the Centre for Vascular Research, won the Premier's Award for Excellence in Translational Cancer Research for their work developing a gene-specific anti-cancer drug for clinical trial in people with Basal Cell Carcinoma.

Dr Claire Vajdic, from the Lowy Cancer Research Centre's adult cancer program, won the Premier's Award for Outstanding Cancer Research Fellow for her work on the cancer risk in organ transplant recipients and people with HIV/AIDS.

The Premier's Award for Outstanding Cancer Research Scholar was won by Ms Elizabeth Tindall for her research focusing on the genetics of prostatic inflammation and their relationship with prostate cancer.

UNSW Dean of Medicine Professor Peter Smith congratulated the researchers on their achievements.

"All three researchers and their teams are involved in new frontiers of research at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre. It's a very appropriate honour ahead of the Centre's official launch on Friday," he said.

The State's top cancer research prize, Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year, was won by Professor Robert Sutherland, from the UNSW-affiliated Garvan Institute.

More information about the winners' research is available from the Cancer Institute NSW.

Media contact: Steve Offner | 02 9385 8107 |