Westmead Health Precinct researcher receives coveted fellowship to revolutionise treatment for aggressive paediatric brain tumours

Westmead Health Precinct’s, Han Shen, an esteemed early and mid-career researcher, has been granted the prestigious Career Development Fellowship by the Cancer Institute New South Wales (CINSW) to further his ground-breaking work on Diffuse Midline Gliomas (DMGs).

This fellowship will provide Han with invaluable resources, funding, and mentorship to delve deeper into DMG research and develop innovative strategies aimed at improving treatment options and outcomes for patients, especially children afflicted with this aggressive brainstem tumour.

DMGs are highly malignant brainstem tumours commonly diagnosed in children between the ages of six and nine years old.

Currently, there is no known cure for this devastating disease, and the standard of care is limited to palliative radiotherapy.

However, Han has set his sights on uncovering the vulnerabilities specific to DMG cells and revolutionising treatment approaches by enhancing the efficacy of radiotherapy.

“This fellowship is of great significance to me as it acknowledges and supports my work in addressing the challenges posed by DMGs, an aggressive and incurable paediatric brainstem tumour,” said Han.

“With the generous support of CINSW, I will have the necessary resources to delve deeper into DMG research and develop innovative treatments that can provide new hope for patients battling this disease.”

Han is a Research Scientist employed by Westmead Institute of Medical Research (WIMR) and also holds an affiliated title of Research Fellow at University of Sydney in the Westmead Health Precinct and his primary objective is to identify novel therapeutic approaches that can complement radiotherapy and improve outcomes for DMG patients.

By unravelling the vulnerabilities of DMG cells, he aims to pave the way for more effective treatment options and ultimately bring researchers one step closer to finding a cure.

“Having completed my training in basic neurosurgery and witnessing the limitations of conventional treatment options for brain tumours, especially in cases deemed incurable, I was inspired to dedicate myself to brain cancer research,” Han explained.

My encounters with children diagnosed with diffuse midline gliomas were particularly heartbreaking, and it motivated me to explore innovative strategies to combat this devastating disease.

Han firmly believes that scientific discoveries and advancements in medical research are crucial in the fight against brain cancer.

By focusing on DMGs, his research not only aims to improve treatment options for this specific tumour type but also to advance our understanding of brain cancer as a whole.

The knowledge gained from his research could potentially contribute to the development of more effective treatments for various types of brain tumours, thus benefiting public health on a broader scale.

The CINSW Career Development Fellowship recognizes outstanding researchers and provides them with the support needed to advance their careers and make significant contributions to cancer research.

Han’s appointment as a fellow underscores his exceptional dedication and potential to drive transformative change in the field of DMG research.

“This fellowship will undoubtedly enable me to accelerate my research and significantly contribute to our understanding of DMGs,” said Han.

“I am grateful to CINSW for their trust and support, and I am committed to making a meaningful impact on the lives of DMG patients and their families.”

Han’s pioneering work on DMG’s has the potential to bring new hope and improved outcomes to patients battling this aggressive brainstem tumour.

With the CINSW Career Development Fellowship backing his research endeavours, Han is poised to make remarkable strides in the field of brain cancer research, ultimately advancing our understanding and treatment of this devastating disease.