Leadng Oncologist

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Leading medical oncologist recruited to St Vincent's Hospital


Having trained at St Vincent’s as a Medical Registrar, Professor Richard Epstein has returned after a stellar international career. Since leaving St Vincent’s, he has been awarded a MenziesScholarship to Cambridge, a Markey Fellowship to Harvard and a Cancer Research Campaign Fellowship to Imperial College, London. Subsequently, he was recruited to the new National Cancer Centre of Singapore as Head of Medical Oncology and later became Director of Academic Affairs, Head of Cancer Informatics and Deputy Director of the Centre.

In 2003 he published a textbook on Human Molecular Biology, leading to the award of the Richard Asher Prize from the Royal Society of Medicine. Richard then moved to take up his most recent position as Foundation Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Hong Kong, and Director of the Cancer Centre at the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital. “We routinely used the latest biologically-targeted drugs in our practice,” he recalls. “Patients appreciate this kind of personalised cancer care.”

Personalised cancer care and clinical trials will be major themes in the Garvan St Vincent’s Cancer Centre (GSVCC). “Establishmentof the GSVCC is timely, as we’re now seeing faster applications of laboratory research into treatment advances,” he says.


His own patented discovery of phosphorylation-state-specific antibodies in 1992 is still supporting cancer research at Harvard University through licensing fees.Professor Epstein’s current research interests focus on cancer-specific molecular drug targets in the laboratory, and breast and prostate cancer treatments in the clinic. New areas of research, he says, could include diseases of importance in Australia, such as melanoma, mesothelioma, non-smoking lung cancer and proximal colorectal cancer.”


“Our clinical aims will be to upgrade our involvement in clinical trials and to encourage the best young doctors to join us for a career in oncology. Our scientific goal will be to get clinicians and scientists talking, to drive translational collaboration to new heights of productivity.” “Curing cancer is one priority, but since it’s increasingly a chronic disease, we really need to engage the whole community in the battle,” concludes Professor Epstein.


Director of St Vincents & Mater Health Sydney (SV&MHS) Cancer Services and Head of the UNSW St Vincent’s Clinical School, Professor Allan Spigelman warmly welcomed Professor Epstein to the team, saying that his recruitment was a coup that augured well for the future of cancer care at the Darlinghurst campus. “His experience and distinguished career as a medical oncologist will enhance our cancer care services as well as providing valued additional teaching for our medical students,” Professor Spigelman said.