Daikin ALIVE2015 challenge members learn about current research in cancer

Daikin ALIVE2015 Cycling Challenge for Cancer, which is currently raising funds for the gold ribbon, the official ribbon of children with cancer, organised an educational talk for its cyclists and back-up staff. 

Senior Lecturer within the Department of Anatomy Dr Pierre Schembri Wismayer highlighting the advancement in cancer research being carried out by the University of Malta.
Senior Lecturer within the Department of Anatomy Dr Pierre Schembri Wismayer highlighting the advancement in cancer research being carried out by the University of Malta.
The funds being raised by Daikin ALIVE2015 Challenge for Cancer  will be facilitated by RIDT for research in the treatment of cancer in children. Picture shows ALIVE Charity Foundation committee with Dr Pierre Schembri Wismayer and Mr Sherif Suleiman (first right).
The funds being raised by Daikin ALIVE2015 Challenge for Cancer will be facilitated by RIDT for research in the treatment of cancer in children. Picture shows ALIVE Charity Foundation committee with Dr Pierre Schembri Wismayer and Mr Sherif Suleiman (first right).

The talk was primarily based on cancers which commonly affect young people and children. It provided ALIVE members with an insight into the current cancer research in Malta and where their raised funds will go.

Senior Lecturer Dr Pierre Schembri Wismayer gave an overview of the progress and advancement being carried by the Anatomy Department of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Malta in collaboration with Mater Dei Hospital.

“We have had very interesting positive results on leukaemia and bone cancers (osteosarcoma) both of which are cancers which occur in children. A particular point of interest is that it seems that some of the chemicals and extracts which have worked on blood cancer also work on bone cancers. We have reason to believe that some of these may also work on brain cancers,” said Dr Schembri Wismayer.

Some cancers (usually those deep on the inside of the body, like brain and blood) come about by a chance mutation, and can therefore happen both in old or young people. Other types of cancer, such as lung, intestine, skin, are caused by exposure to elements which damage DNA in UV light, smoke or our food, and therefore usually happen only in older people who have been exposed to lots of damage over a long time.

The funds being raised through the Daikin ALIVE2015 Challenge for Cancer, in collaboration with Puttinu Cares, will be facilitated by the University’s Research Trust (RIDT). The money will be used to support a PhD student to study the effects of the best candidate treatments from our previous work on brain tumours and neuroblastoma (a tummy cancer found in children). The treatments will aim to make the cancer cells grow old and die without many of the side effects of chemotherapy.

The team of researchers also consists of the Department’s Head Dr Jean Calleja Agius, a junior post-doctoral scientist, students reading for PhD or Masters degree and a number of undergraduates who help in research over the summer months.

“The ALIVE Charity Foundation is the first Maltese organisation to contribute substantial funds towards cancer research in Malta – a fact which we are very proud of,” said Nicky Camilleri, Chairperson ALIVE Charity Foundation. “Thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of our members and the public’s great generosity, Maltese researchers are being able to follow important studies which may not be followed internationally.”

The talk was then followed by a debate on a different subject but was important for the cyclists to learn about road safety whilst cycling and the dynamics of cycling in groups.

Daikin ALIVE 2015 Cycling Challenge for Cancer will be held from the 9th to 18th July 2015 and will take the 45 cyclists on an enduring marathon starting from Liechtenstein, across the Alps, to Switzerland, Germany, France, Luxembourg and cycle into Belgium.  Crossing the English Channel to Dover, the cyclists will then finish the challenge at the Puttinu Cares Residence in Sutton, UK.

This year’s edition of ALIVE2015 Cycling Challenge for Cancer is sponsored by Daikin and is powered by Wurth Malta, Made Good, Valletta Cruise Port and Garmin Malta. Other community sponsors include Owner's Best, Impressions Print Possibilities, Danusan, Ricetti.com, PAVI Shopping Complex, Springbox Media, Go & Fun, KPMG, Cuschieri Group, Carmelo Caruana Co Ltd, Mothercare, Express Group, MSV Life, UVIA, Autobahn, Falzon Group and Atlas Insurance.

Donations to ALIVE 2013 can be made online www.alivecharity.com or via SMS on 50617364 - €2.33 / 50618081 - €4.66 / 50618913 - €6.99/ 50619208 - €11.65

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