Researcher recognised for work with childhood cancer survivors

20 Aug 2014

A career devoted to improving the health and nutrition of children with cancer has drawn a prestigious World Cancer Research Fund International Academy Fellowship for a University of Queensland researcher.

Dr Alexia Murphy, from the Children’s Nutrition Research Centre at the Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute, is the only Australian among the six people worldwide receiving the fellowship.

She will join world-class nutrition researchers, scientists and speakers at a two-week course on nutritional epidemiology at Imperial College London later this year.

“Attending this course will improve my skills in nutrition epidemiology studies and help me to combine an international perspective with my current knowledge and research focus,” Dr Murphy said

Her studies show that many children become malnourished during cancer treatment, and the issue continues to be a significant problem for childhood cancer survivors many years after treatment.

As a result, Dr Murphy has developed a tool to screen children with cancer for malnutrition and is working on introducing it in hospitals across the globe.

Dr Murphy will use data from the tool to see if the children’s nutritional issues vary from country to country.

“We will also review data from children screened a decade ago to see if those who were malnourished during treatment have had adverse outcomes 10 years on,” she said.

“Ultimately, we hope this work will help us to provide a better prognosis for children with cancer.”

Dr Murphy is co-founder and co-chair of the world’s first International Paediatric Oncology Nutrition Group, which brings together more than 100 health professionals and researchers from 29 countries.

Dr Murphy will receive the World Cancer Research Fund International Academy Fellowship in the UK next month.

World Cancer Research Fund International Executive Director of Science and Public Affairs Kate Allen said they were pleased to offer Dr Murphy the fellowship.

“We’re committed to developing future leaders in nutritional epidemiology through our academy fellowships and Dr Murphy is an outstanding applicant who is doing vital work,” she said. 

Media: Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Senior Marketing and Communications Officer Kate Gadenne, 07 3346 3036 or 0438 727 895,