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Wine and Art Auction 2017

The Canterbury Medical Research Foundation’s annual Wine and Art Auction hit a new record with funds raised at the event on Saturday night  topping $160,000.

 Proceeds from the night will support a project looking at Legionella in compost and potting mix and how the risks to gardeners can be minimised.  Professor Stephen Chambers of the University of Otago, Christchurch leads the project and the hope is to lower the rates of Legionella-related pneumonia, so prevalent in Canterbury at this time of the year.

Bidding on the items on offer at the auction was fierce, with many items going for well above reserve.  There were several highlights in the evening including Artist Raymond Jennings’ “Christchurch Cathedral 1926” selling for $10,000 after a lively bidding war and Bryan L’Estrange’s “Wakefield Avenue” reaching $7500.

“We’re delighted at the success of the evening.” said Mike Stenhouse, Chairman of CMRF. “We have a loyal group of generous donors who help us to grow this event year on year and we’re happy to be able to give a significant contribution to Professor Chambers’ important research.”

 Generous donors helped the total along with offers of the use of luxury accommodation all over the South Island and in Melbourne.

Our raffle winners from the 2017 Wine and Art Raffle are: 1st Ticket -370, 2nd Ticket - 759, 3rd Ticket - 365 


New Event for the NZ Brain Research Institute

Our great friends Ivan and Chris Donaldson and family at Pegasus Bay Winery are running a wonderful family event at the winery in January.  The Vine Run is an opportunity for families to run or walk amongst the beautiful vines on the Pegasus property and will raise all-important funds for the work of the Institute. Visit to learn more.


Thank you Archibalds

Archibalds is sponsoring the new CMRF vehicle for the next three years, through their Volvo Ambassador Programme.  Many thanks to John and the Team at Archibalds for this generosity!

2017 Wine and Art Auction Recipient announced   

The Canterbury Medical Research Foundation (CMRF) announced today, the recipient of its 25th Annual Wine and Art Auction in October.

Professor Stephen Chamber’s University of Otago group studying Legionella will receive $100,000 from the proceeds of the evening, to further their research.

Legionnaires’ disease is the most common cause of pneumonia in Canterbury during spring and summer. Indeed, Christchurch has the highest reported incidence of Legionnaires’ disease in the world, with 30% of Cantabrian patients needing Intensive Care treatment and 10% dying.

The bacterium that causes this disease (Legionella) is found in compost and soil, and most cases of Legionella-cause pneumonia in Canterbury occur in gardeners. To find out when and why Legionella bacteria thrive in the environment, creating the risk to gardeners, Prof Chambers and his team at the University of Otago Christchurch have developed new tests to detect these organisms.

With these tests Prof Chamber’s team will determine Legionella survival and growth in potting mix, compost and soils, as well as on hands and in airborne particles under controlled conditions. Studies of Christchurch-wide private compost heaps, stored potting mix, and commercial gardening products will be performed from September to February when the risk is greatest.

 These studies will show the conditions that allow Legionella to thrive, how they are transmitted, and ultimately help us all prevent infections. A partnership between researchers and gardeners would then promote safer gardening techniques.

“Christchurch is still the “Garden City”. Says Kate Russell CMRF CEO “There wouldn’t be many of us who don’t garden at one time or another and if we can support this research to prevent unnecessary deaths through unsafe handling of compost and potting mix, it’s been worthwhile.  Of course the next step after the study results are out, would be an awareness campaign for all gardeners .”

The annual Wine and Art Auction has raised more than 1.5 million dollars for medical research since it was started and provides funding for niche projects that in many cases, have significant implications for patient care in the community.

CMRF Announces new fund for 2018 

Post Graduate Publishing Bursary - you can read the press release here

 CMRF Announces 2017 Athol Mann Lecture - Sir Richard Faull

Sir Richard Faull's love affair with the anatomy of the human brain has traversed almost forty years, and has 

made him a man "obsessed" - but the 71-year-old said he is still just getting started. 

His obsession has led to ground breaking - and at times controversial research - which has revolutionised the understanding and treatment of brain disease. 

In 2007, Sir Richard was awarded the Rutherford Medal, the Royal Society of New Zealand's top honour, for his team's landmark finding that a diseased human brain can repair itself by creating new brain cells, something he had been taught as a med student was impossible.

Highly regarded internationally, Sir Richard is the director of the Neurological Foundation Douglas Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland, where he teaches and oversees world-leading research on brain diseases.

Sir Richard will speak to us on the topic:  "Exciting research developments on Ageing Brain diseases in NZ - challenges and opportunities to give better quality of life"

The Athol Mann Lecture is at 6pm on Wednesday May 17th. You can register for this free event here (Registrations essential) Refreshments will be served.


Wine and Art Auction night a resounding success!

In an amazing night of spirited bidding, great entertainment, food and wine, $100,000 

was raised for Dr Julia Rucklidge's Micronutrient Research at the University of Canterbury.  Our sincere thanks to the many businesses and people who made the night such a success.

We wish to thank the following people in particular for their long term support of this event over a number of years:

Charles & Sandi Wiffen of Charles Wiffen Wines, Dr Bala Patel, Ivan & Chris Donaldson of Pegasus Bay Winery & Restaurant, Southern Eye Specialists, Phil & Mark McGoldrick, Ned Allison Harcourts, Gary Tricker, Karen Purchas of Passion Flower, Llew Summers, Rachel & Matthew Rose, Rydges Latimer Christchurch, John Gillies, Dr Marcel & Mel Brew, Gabrielle Tasman, Sutherland Todd, Hogland Glass Art, Darryn George.

The many the generous donations of items from Artists, wineries, businesses and individual donors who helped make up the stellar line up of auction items. Those who 'bidded large' to ensure we raised $100K for Prof Julia Rucklidge’s research. Also to the committee Caroline Wagteveld McKenzie, Sue Stenhouse, Mel Brew, Jeanette Borthwick, Julie Hutton, Ron Wright and Shona Ross. 

“I am so delighted to accept the funds raised from the Annual CMRF Wine and Art Event. Our team are excited about the opportunities this presents to us, including being able to conduct genetic analyses for our current RCT with children with ADHD as well as get some new projects off the ground. Thank you to the donors for their generosity in supporting our research.”  Dr Julia Rucklidge

 Expressions of Interest to be the recipient researcher for the 2017 event are now open. The EOI Form can be downloaded from here.

Foundation grants $660,000 to Medical Research in Canterbury

The Canterbury Medical Research Foundation announced today that it will be funding more than $660,000 in research grants from its 2016 major funding round. Seven projects were chosen from 11 applicants, spanning medical research in the laboratory to clinical applications at the coalface of care; including using vitamin C in treating sepsis and using exercise as a component of cancer treatment.

 “As with the previous two years, the standard of applications in this round was very high.” Says Kate Russell, CMRF Chief Executive.  “Our support provides invaluable opportunities for early-career researchers to launch into medical research with funding that allows them to stay in Canterbury, contributing to the local brain bank. The last thing we want is for these bright minds to leave the city through a lack of opportunity here.”

The Foundation runs a number of grant rounds each year but their emerging researcher round is the largest.  Founded in 1960 by the late Sir Don Beaven, the Foundation has funded more than $24 million in medical research in the city since inception.

 With government funding for Medical Research limited, many researchers look to regional foundations such as CMRF to give them the leg up they need to get the attention of larger funders such as the HRC and Marsden Fund. The full list of funded grants is as follows:

Dr Anitra Carr, University of Otago

Intravenous vitamin C and severe sepsis outcomes

Dr Rachel Purcell, University of Otago

Gut bacteria and colorectal cancer

Dr Andree Pearson, University of Otago

Mitochondria and ageing

Dr Katie Douglas, University of Otago

Cognitive remediation for depression

Dr Margaret Currie, University of Otago

Exercise as a cancer therapy

Dr Prisca Mbikou, University of Otago

Role of DWORF peptide in heart disease

Dr Kristin Lamvik, University of Canterbury

Pharyngeal high resolution manometry


Awesome work by the Rose Centre

So proud of everyone at the Rose Centre for Stroke Rehabilitation and Research for this awesome, ground breaking work that is changing lives every day. Read about a wonderful, heartwarming story of recovery here



A great girl doing her bit for medical research

Imagine if everyone just did a little bit to help us to fund medical research? Introducing a special girl, Julia Nokdajun-Knox. This is a photo of her with one of her artworks (titled "Under the C") which she sold at her own art auction to raise funds for our cause. Julia had a friend and one of her teachers pass away with cancer so she wanted to do something about that. Her donation meant a great deal to all of us in the office. Good on you Julia!

New NZ research focuses on Vitamin C and breast cancer

 A new research study will analyse the level of vitamin C in breast tumours, and compare health outcomes for patients with different levels of the vitamin.

The NZ Breast Cancer Foundation and the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation have teamed up for the first time to fund this important study, led by vitamin C expert Professor Margreet Vissers at the University of Otago in Christchurch.

Prof Vissers and her team will analyse breast cancer tumour tissue from the Christchurch tissue bank. She has previously conducted the same analysis with bowel cancer and endometrial cancer tissue, and has found that patients with higher levels of vitamin C in their tumours have extended disease-free survival.

“The use of vitamin C by cancer patients is commonplace, but highly controversial,” says Prof Vissers, who featured in a TVNZ Sunday documentary last October. “Some patients claim to benefit, but we’ve been short on clinical evidence. If vitamin C works, we need to know how it works, and for which tumours. If this study shows that breast cancer responds to vitamin C in the same way as bowel cancer, we’ll be able to include breast cancer patients in our upcoming clinical studies.”

Van Henderson, chief executive of the NZBCF, said she was excited when she first read of Prof Vissers’ work. “We know that many women with advanced breast cancer will try intravenous vitamin C, but it’s much harder to know if and how it’s working. The science behind Margreet’s study makes a lot of sense; this might be a real chance to understand if vitamin C really can play a role in breast cancer. From there, we can figure out how it should be used, and when it’s most effective.”

Kate Russell, chief executive of the CMRF, say Prof Vissers is held in high regard in her profession. “Margreet has already demonstrated that the more vitamin C there is in a tumour, the slower it will grow. This study is an important next step and could lead to a trial in patients in the near future.”

The new $84,000 study aims to determine whether vitamin C in the tumour tissue affects the biology of the tumour in a way that could slow growth the cancer growth and spread. This is an essential first step before progressing into the clinic, as there must be a sound rationale for enlisting patients into a clinical trial.

There would be few people in Canterbury and indeed, New Zealand, who do not know this famous face. Andy Ellis has been a huge performer on the local and international rugby stage, representing Canterbury and with many caps for the All Blacks.  Andy is a great supporter of health-related causes in Canterbury and believes that with the support of the Canterbury Community, medical research can go so much further.

Sandra Stapleton is a proud Cantabrian who believes that leaving a legacy to charitable causes in our wills is a great thing to do and encourages everyone to think about leaving a charitable gift after they've gone.

 Professor Tony Kettle is the CMRF Research Director, Director of the University of Otago's Centre for Free Radical Research and advisor to the CMRF Executive. Tony tells us that researchers all over Canterbury are delighted that our campaign is drawing attention to the great work being done right here in our city.


Amy Wang is just one of the many bright young researchers we support. Amy is a PhD candidate at the University of Canterbury's Psychology Department, working on projects at the NZ Brain Research Institute

 Courtney Mulder cares about the future for her son, Archer. The medical research we fund, finds new answers to the many questions we have about conditions that affect the quality and length of life for many New Zealanders.  Archer represents our future focus at CMRF and our commitment to a better health future for all.


Check out our latest bill;board installation.  Showing off the 'Family" and reinforcing the connections between CMRF and the NZBRI



Read about our new Acute Care Fellowship in partnership with the Emergency Care Foundation and the Canterbury District Health Board here




Ever wanted to take part in research?

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