Professor Timothy Hughes

South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute

Professor Timothy Hughes - considered a world-leader in CML research - won the 2017 Award for pioneering the use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), a therapy now becoming available for many cancers. His team has demonstrated that molecular monitoring of response to TKI therapy enables it to be “customised”, enhancing the chances for each patient to achieve durable remissions, while minimising the risks of drug resistance and disease progression.

CML was once considered a devastating form of blood cancer with less than one in six patients surviving eight years past their diagnosis1. However, the introduction of treatment with TKIs and research into individualising therapy according to response, led by Professor Hughes and his team, has resulted in some patients achieving treatment free cancer remission2.

There are over 2,500 CML patients in Australia currently receiving treatment with TKIs3. Each year, over 300 patients in Australia begin treatment with TKIs for their CML diagnosis3.

Professor Hughes and his team at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute are currently focused on treatment response to optimise disease management and patient outcomes. The $80,000 prize that comes with the GSK Award for Research Excellence will help support a Leukaemia Fellow to work alongside Professor Hughes in furthering research into CML.

The remarkable success of TKI therapy for CML is a great example of effective collaboration between scientists, clinicians and the pharmaceutical industry. The original clinical trials into the first generation of TKIs gave us unique insights into the dynamics of response and the mechanisms of drug resistance. This drove the development of second and third generation TKIs, which have further improved outcomes for patients

Professor Hughes