Australian Mesothelioma Researcher Wins International Award

Every two years the International Mesothelioma Interest Group presents the Wagner medal to an individual who has made major original contributions to the understanding of malignant mesothelioma. This year it is being awarded to Professor Anna Nowak, an internationally recognized researcher from the University of Western Australia.

Diverse Mesothelioma Research Honored

Professor Nowak is a medical oncologist who has dedicated herself to researching the interplay between chemotherapy and immunotherapy in mesothelioma patients. She demonstrated that chemotherapy causes immunological effects and that by combining the traditional cancer protocol with immunotherapy, the effect could be enhanced. Her research has allowed her patients to be treated using cutting-edge protocols encompassing imaging, immunology, translational research, chemotherapeutic agents, clinical trials and clinical care.

Speaking of her groundbreaking work, Professor Nowak said, “What I’m most excited about is seeing the combination of immunotherapy and chemotherapy move into completed clinical trials and international clinical trials. The hope is that this combination will offer a better treatment than chemotherapy on its own.”  Of being awarded the Wagner Medal she said, “I’m incredibly grateful and humbled to have been awarded the Wagner Medal – so many people I respect and admire have been past winners of this prize.”

Award Honors Scientist Who Established Link Between Asbestos and Mesothelioma

J. Christopher Wagner was the very first scientist to establish that asbestos causes malignant mesothelioma. Born and raised in South Africa, he wrote a groundbreaking paper in 1960 that set the groundwork for all future research into the link between the two, as well as for asbestos’ eventual ban in most countries and the ability of mesothelioma victims to seek compensation from those who exposed them to the carcinogenic material.  Following his death, the International Mesothelioma Interest Group created the Wagner Medal in his memory. Though the award is generally presented at the group’s biennial conference, the meeting was held virtually this year. Professor Nowak was given the medal by her colleague Professor Bruce Robinson, who himself won the Wagner Medal in 2004.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, your treatment relies on decades of work by scientists. To learn more about how research has led to longer survival and improved quality of life, contact the Patient Care Advocates at today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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