days until surfebruary 2022
The SurFebruary Fund
With world-renowned cancer institution the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, we created the SurFebruary Cancer Research Fund. In 2021, our seed funding enabled five innovative research projects to get off the ground. Meet the researchers and discover their projects below.
Victoria Choi, Senior Acupuncturist
“Seed Funding for research allows creative and innovated ideas to grow into ideas that can one day help people.”

A pilot study: randomised controlled trial of electroacupuncture for taxane-induced peripheral neuropathy in breast cancer patients during treatment

Can you explain in layman’s terms what your study is about?

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a one of the most common side effects experienced by patients during chemotherapy treatment. Neurotoxic chemotherapeutic agents like paclitaxel can cause numbness and tingling in hands and feet, which can be uncomfortable and affect simple day to day activities like buttoning a shirt, writing and driving. Currently, management of CIPN predominantly consists of reducing dosage and/or stopping chemotherapy, which can impact not only survival rates but cause added distress for patients. However, electroacupuncture has been shown to be a safe treatment option that may have potential benefits for treating CIPN. Our clinical trial will be investigating the effectiveness of electroacupuncture in treating CIPN during chemotherapy.

How important is Seed Funding for research?

Seed funding is incredibly important in research because it helps to foster and grow novel ideas. It allows creative and innovated ideas to grow into ideas that can one day help people.

Do you or have you ever surfed?

Never, but I’d love to learn

Do you have a favourite beach?

Coogee beach

Do you have a message to the supporters of SurFebruary?

Thank you so much for your support and belief in our work!
Dr Helen Ke, PhD Fellow
“We rely on seed funding to get our ideas and projects off the ground so we can hopefully make a difference in the lives of our patients.”

The investigation of methylation patterns in circulating tumour DNA as a predictive biomarker for immunotherapy in malignant mesothelioma

Can you explain in layman’s terms what your study is about – the line I have below will not be understood by most people.

Our project is looking at predicting how well immunotherapy will work in patients with mesothelioma (a cancer caused by asbestos) based on patterns in their tumour’s DNA.

How important is Seed Funding for research?

Seed funding from SurFebruary is crucial for research projects like ours with uncommon cancers and for researchers just starting out (like myself). We rely on seed funding to get our ideas and projects off the ground so we can hopefully make a difference in the lives of our patients

The study is between Concord Hospital and Lifehouse – how important / helpful is collaboration in terms of research?

This study is a collaborative project between the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI), Concord Hospital and Lifehouse. Collaboration is absolutely essential to research. Particularly for asbestos-related cancers, this extends to government and industry as well. We all have a common hope and purpose to see an end to mesothelioma and also improve the lives of those who are diagnosed with this cancer.

Do you or have you ever surfed?

I would like to learn how to surf! Participating in Surfebruary may be a good opportunity to finally give it a go

Do you have a favourite beach?

Manly- my favourite birthday tradition is salt and vinegar chips with a lemon Calippo after a swim at Manly
Emma Charters, Speech pathologist
“Seed funding is crucial for turning bright ideas into reality.”

Restorabite: Hospital manufactured, 3D printed device for trismus therapy

Can you explain in layman’s terms what your study is about?

Many people have difficulty opening their mouths after being treated for head and neck cancer. When you can’t open your mouth, you have big problems eating, talking, getting dental care and check-ups with your doctor. Our team have designed a 3D printed device called the Restorabite, which helps to stretch open the mouth again in a controlled and safe way. We are evaluating whether Restorabite can help people open their mouths wider, and whether this improves someone’s eating, drinking, pain and quality of life.

How important is Seed Funding for research?

Seed funding is crucial for turning bright ideas into reality. It provides the time and resources that are needed to make positive changes in health care, and allows clinicians to creatively think of solutions to problems that negatively effects their patients.

How important / helpful is collaboration in terms of research?

Just like in our everyday work, collaboration in research projects is essential. Our Restorabite project is an excellent example of this, bringing together the expertise of surgeons, engineers, research assistants and coordinators, oncologists, dentists, specialist nurses, trial specialists and speech pathologists. Within a big team like that, there is teaching, training and mentoring which is packaged along with the actual project, making collaboration even more important for developing the skills of researchers.

Do you or have you ever surfed?

I learnt to surf (sort of) on my honeymoon! I fell down more than I stood up… but I would LOVE to give it another go!

Do you have a favourite beach?

I have very fond memories of Mollymook beach down the south coast where we went growing up as kids. Cronulla is our local though, and we are there as often as my freckly skin allows!

Do you have a message to the supporters of SurFebruary?

I am so grateful and excited. I am grateful for those who donated to SurFebruary, putting your trust into new ideas can be daunting and risky. Thankyou for supporting our ideas and enabling our team to work together on a project which really will change the lives of people recovering from head and neck cancer treatment. I am excited because each person who surfed, swam, ran, walked or breathed in the salty air, raised awareness for cancer research and the hope that new ideas can bring.
Dr Susannah Graham
“Seed funding is essential for research! It allows us to fund the inspiring and innovative research that aims to benefit our patients.”

Better health outcomes for women with Breast Cancer

Can you explain in layman’s terms what your study is about?

Our study is looking at rolling out an early supportive care program for women receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy (or chemotherapy before surgery) for breast cancer. The program provides interventions that may improve women’s wellbeing and cancer treatment experience. The aim of the study is to investigate the feasibility of the program and identify barriers in implementing it. We ultimately hope to show that being involved in this program results in reduced symptom burden and improved quality of life, as well as better surgical outcomes, with fewer complications and improved patient satisfaction.

How important is Seed Funding for research?

Seed funding is essential for research! It allows us to fund the inspiring and innovative research that aims to benefit our patients.

How important / helpful is collaboration in terms of research?

Research is impossible without collaboration! This study relies on collaboration between multiple departments in the hospital including Surgery, Medical Oncology and Supportive Care, in addition to allied health staff and researchers for its’ implementation and evaluation. It would be impossible to perform without everyone working together.

Do you or have you ever surfed?

I have! I lived in Coolangatta on the beach during my surgical training and learnt to surf. I had a big red “foamie” and I loved getting out in the surf.

Do you have a favourite beach?

My favourite beach in Sydney at the moment is Balmoral. I have two small children, so taking them somewhere without big surf is essential at the moment. I can’t wait until they become great swimmers and we can start Nippers!

Do you have a message to the supporters of SurFebruary?

Thank you so much!! Your support inspires us and allows us to do the research needed to get better outcomes for our patients!
Dr Yi-Ching Lee,
Development and implementation of a Cancer Pain Intervention Registry
This will help evaluate the usefulness of pain-relieving procedures for cancer patients. Pain is very common and often not well managed in people with cancer. It can negatively impact the physical and psychological wellbeing and quality of life of the individual patient, and can also be a source of distress to their family. This study will be initiated at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, with an aim to extend to a state-wide, and later an Australia and New Zealand-wide project.

Sign up

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.