Announcing the Gunn Family Women in Haematology Fellow

Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision, the Snowdome Foundation and the Gunn Family are thrilled to announce Dr Katherine Cummins as the second ever recipient of the Gunn Family Women in Haematology Fellowship.

This fellowship endorses the passion of both organisations to support the advancement of women in medical research and importantly offers long-term commitment to funding, combined with a tailored mentorship program.

Dr Cummins is a clinical haematologist and research fellow at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Her research project is focussed on discovering a novel mechanism to overcome treatment resistance in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).

AML is an aggressive blood cancer. Approximately 15% of patients with Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes will devastatingly develop either AML, or another form of blood cancer, Myelodysplastic Syndrome. While treatment with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells has demonstrated durable remission in some forms of leukaemia, treatment has thus far not been successful in AML.

Dr Cummins’ work, “Synergising CD47 blockade with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy for the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia”, will investigate whether combining two potent and existing immune-based therapies could help treat AML more effectively, giving patients with AML the best chance of cure and a normal life.

“The Gunn Family Women in Haematology Fellowship is an extraordinary opportunity for someone at my career stage, having recently returned to Australia after completing my PhD in the US,” says Dr Cummins.

“It provides that crucial step towards becoming an independent investigator, providing a solid foundation on which I am able to build on what I have learned in the field of cellular therapies. I look forward to working with Snowdome and Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision to improve outcomes for patients who are diagnosed with aggressive blood cancers.”

The Gunn family is “immensely proud to be able to support women as they conduct vital research into haematological cancers,” says Jackie Haintz, Gunn family member. “We congratulate Dr Cummins on this Fellowship and wish her all the best with this exciting research project”.

Maddie Riewoldt Vision and Snowdome wish to thank all the Fellowship applicants.

Applications were received for many worthy projects, demonstrating the depth of Australian female talent in haematology and the necessity to fund further opportunities to address unmet needs in blood cancer and bone marrow failure research.