Vasso honoured for cancer research

Professor Vasso Apostolopoulos

By Esther Lauaki

A Wyndham professor has been named one of the world’s most significant researchers for her 25 years of work on cancer-fighting vaccines.
Professor Vasso Apostolopoulos was honoured at the recent Salus Index Awards presented to Greek researchers who have made a significant impact in medicine.
Ms Apostolopoulos has dedicated decades to vaccine development and immunology research.
She said her grandfather’s early death from a brain tumour prompted her interest in researching cancer at university.
Her notable contributions to medicine include developing the world’s first breast and ovarian cancer vaccine in the 1990s and she was also instrumental in the creation of a vaccine against multiple sclerosis.
The Victoria University professor said she hoped the vaccines she developed, currently in the commercialisation phase, would be routinely administered to patients fighting cancer.
“That is my dream,” Ms Apostolopoulos said.
“We are getting closer all the time to finding viable, achievable ways to fight cancer and other diseases.”
She described her work as “platform technology” that would offer hope in treating and preventing pancreatic, colon, and lung cancer, as well as multiple sclerosis.
Ms Apostolopoulos, of Greek descent, was born and raised in St Albans but now lives in Sanctuary Lakes.
She said her work would not have been possible without major contributions and support from Australia’s Greek community.
“Much of my research has relied on the Greek community really getting behind me,” Ms Apostolopoulos said.
“If it wasn’t for their important fundraising events and donations towards my research over the years, we wouldn’t be at the stage with the vaccines we’re at.”