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Professor Trevor Leong awarded special honour

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Hunter-based researcher Professor Trevor Leong has been recognised for “going above and beyond” to solve health challenges within the community.

The TROG Cancer Research’s president was recently presented with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) David Cooper Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Award.

The honour acknowledges the highest-ranked recipient in the Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grant Scheme in 2020.

And, the newly-named award is in remembrance of leading HIV/AIDS researcher Professor David Cooper AC FAA FAHMS (1949-2018).

Professor Leong admitted he was “incredibly humbled”.

“It [the award] represents the culmination of many years of hard work by hundreds of trial staff, clinicians and patients across the globe,” he said.

“It’s great to see this recognised alongside the work of Professor Cooper.”

Professor Leong’s work with TROG Cancer Research and the Australasian Gastro-Intestinal Trials Group (AGITG) on the TOPGEAR Phase III trial (Investigating the use of preoperative chemoradiotherapy versus preoperative chemotherapy for respectable gastric cancer), which opened to patients in 2013, was noted by NHMRC as an important research question worthy of government funding.

“This trial was dedicated to answering important questions about the best use of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, in addition to surgery for gastric cancer,” he said.

“All of us at TROG remain focused on conducting high-quality clinically important research that responds to, and is reflective of, patient needs, changes in cancer treatments, new technologies, the research environment and our membership.

“This award is only the beginning of more work to come – and that’s very exciting.”

Professor Leong was announced TROG Cancer Research’s president in 2021 after fulfilling the role as the chairperson of TROG’s Scientific Committee.

Previously, he was the Director of Radiation Oncology at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.

As a consultant radiation oncologist, he is internationally-recognised as a leader in the management and research of gastrointestinal cancers.

TROG Cancer Research CEO Susan Goode congratulated Professor Leong on the huge milestone.

“I have had the pleasure of working side-by-side with Trevor on a number of trials,” she said.

“But, most recently as our president, he has been providing leadership for TROG Cancer Research, ensuring that our research endeavours in radiation medicine make a significant contribution to cancer control and improving patient outcomes.

“There is no one else more deserving of this award in its first year.

“We are so privileged to have the expertise, passion and leadership of Trevor at TROG Cancer Research, and are all very excited to be able to share this incredible achievement with him.

“It truly recognises this exceptional clinical research being done in a multidisciplinary way to develop better treatment options for those with cancer.”  

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