WA's first Cancer Prevention Research Unit opens at Curtin University

Friday, 28 November 2014

Professor Simone Pettigrew has been appointed the Director of a new research unit at Curtin University that will focus on cancer prevention.

The Western Australian Cancer Prevention Research Unit (WACPRU) is an alliance between Curtin University’s Faculty of Health Sciences and the Cancer Council of Western Australia, and has been created with a clear focus on health promotion strategies in preventing cancer risk in the WA population. 

There are more than 11,000 cases of cancer plus about another 75,000 non-melanoma skin cancers diagnosed in WA every year.

At least one third of those cancers are preventable, so WACPRU Founding Director Professor Simone Pettigrew said there are lives and money to be saved in effective cancer prevention.

“WACPRU will be an activity hub for Curtin staff to work closely with the Cancer Council to address modifiable risk factors for cancer across a broad range of areas including tobacco, alcohol, nutrition, and sun exposure,” Professor Simone Pettigrew said.
Cancer Council WA Education and Research Director, Terry Slevin, said the investment of $160,000 per year in the WA Cancer Prevention Unit is an important part of CCWA’s research funding portfolio. 

“The co-investment of that amount by Curtin shows the University’s commitment to its leadership role in public health research,” Mr Slevin said.

“We are thrilled with Professor Pettigrew’s appointment and are confident WACPRU will contribute to a greater scientific understanding of how chronic disease prevention can succeed, while also playing an important role of guiding our own programs to be effective and evidence based so as to reduce the burden of cancer in Western Australia,” he said.

Faculty Dean of Research Professor Garry Allison said he welcomed Professor Pettigrew’s appointment.

“I very happy to see Professor Pettigrew take on the WACPRU Director’s role as she has worked with both the Cancer Council and Curtin in the past,” Professor Allison said.

“This is an opportunity to build further capacity in cancer prevention with the continued partnership with a strong partner,” he said.

The new unit is a restructure of staff and research focus underpinned by the similar alliance between the Cancer Council and Curtin University in the Centre for Behavioural Research for Cancer Control.

It brings together industry partners with research members from multiple schools including Psychology and Public Health.

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