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Scope 37- Top Honour for Young Scientist

3 October 2008

For her groundbreaking research into the development of designer vaccines for the treatment of cancer, Malaghan Institute PhD student Dianne Sika-Paotonu was named winner of the HRC Advancing Human Health and Wellbeing category of the 2008 MacDiarmid Young Scientist of the Year Awards.

These awards are presented by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology in recognition of New Zealand-born Nobel Laureate Professor Alan MacDiarmid, to celebrate the achievements of New Zealand's future leaders in science.

The focus of Dianne's PhD research is to improve the activity of a rare group of immune cells called dendritic cells. These cells are able to stimulate the immune system to attack cancerous tissue and are a critical component of the cancer vaccines created at the Malaghan Institute. By developing ways to make the cancer vaccines work even better, Dianne's cutting-edge research brings us one step closer towards a highly effective more natural cancer therapy that doesn'thave the side-effects of conventional cancer treatments.

"Cancer is a terrible disease and we need to support bright young New Zealanders such as Dianne to ensure our future."  Professor Graham Le Gros, Director.