Wittenoom legacy funding new mesothelioma research

Caitlyn WattsPilbara News
University of Western Australia PhD student Synat Keam.
Camera IconUniversity of Western Australia PhD student Synat Keam. Credit: Picture: Nicholas Kieran Smith

An emerging doctor from the University of WA has won a scholarship for asbestos related disease research funded by the legacy of a Wittenoom victim.

UWA National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases medical researcher Synat Keam, 32, was granted the Douglas Peter Swift Scholarship to advance his research into mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos with no known cure.

The scholarship was offered by the Swift family in memory of Douglas Swift who grew up in Wittenoom and died at 53 from mesothelioma.

Mr Keam said it was vital to develop better ways to treat mesothelioma as standard chemotherapy was not ideal.

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“I remember sitting in on a mesothelioma clinic during my studies,” he said.

“A patient’s children asked how long their father could expect to live.

“When they were told, the son burst into tears.

“With support through the scholarship I will be researching immune checkpoint blockade treatments, which is a type of immunotherapy that works by enabling T cells to kill cancer cells.”

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