A UWA researcher who is working at the forefront of a health disaster that started in the blue asbestos mining industry in the Pilbara last century has been presented with a prestigious award by the Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia.
Medical Oncologist Professor Anna Nowak from The University of Western Australia's School of Medicine and Pharmacology and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, has been presented with the Emeritus Professor Eric G Saint Memorial Award 2014 for her work with asbestos disease sufferers.
The award was presented in Perth by the Hon. Kate Doust MLC in recognition of Professor Nowak's visionary and innovative approach to oncology treatment, and for the compassion, understanding and excellence in care she tirelessly provides to asbestos disease sufferers.
Rose Marie Vojakovic AM of the Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia Inc said: "Prof Anna Nowak is an inspiration to us all. It gives our members great pleasure to acknowledge Prof Nowak's invaluable contribution to the treatment of mesothelioma with the awarding of the Eric G Saint Memorial Award to her at our AGM on Sunday."
Much of Prof Nowak's study and work since 1997 has focused on mesothelioma, a terminal cancer caused by the mineral substance which was widely used in construction and other industries in Australia up until the late 1980's.
"It is a great honour to have been recognised amongst a team of committed scientific and clinical researchers centred here in Western Australia where we have the highest incidence of mesothelioma of anywhere in the world.
"I am grateful to the Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia Inc. (ADSA) and the National Centre for Asbestos Related Disease (NCARD) for the joint commitment to awareness raising, fundraising, research into a cure and importantly, providing the very best in care and support to mesothelioma sufferers and their families."
Professor Nowak's PhD was on mesothelioma and many areas of her research have progressed to clinical trials which have gained international attention and showed some promise.
"We are definitely making progress on treatment with drugs that target particular molecules of the cancer and also in chemo-immunotherapy, which seeks to bring about an immune response to the cancer by combining immunotherapy with chemotherapy," Professor Nowak said.
"What is especially lovely about the work we do with the ADSA is that we have a very close link back to those whom are suffering with the disease. Patients come to us from the ADSA for ongoing care and therefore we never lose sight of the end goal in our research."