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2019 Wine & Art Auction recipient announced



Dr Martin de Bock and his research team are this year's recipients of the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation's prestigious $100,000 Wine & Art Auction Grant. Martin is a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Otago, Christchurch with a special interest in Type 1 Diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is a genetic condition affecting over 200 children in Canterbury, and more than 2000 nationwide. 35 new cases are diagnosed locally every year. There is no cure, and living with diabetes is very hard. Throughout the day, children have to receive multiple doses of insulin and also have their blood tested frequently.

Two thirds of kids are at great risk from complications such as blindness, kidney failure and heart disease. They also commonly experience depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

Martin and his team will be establishing a long-overdue registry of kids in Canterbury and wider New Zealand with Type 1 diabetes.  This will tell us what care they receive, the quality of care depending on where they live, how this compares nationally and most importantly, what we can do better to support the little patients, so that no matter where a child lives, they receive the best care possible.


Canterbury Medical Research Foundation AGM 

The 2019 CMRF AGM was held at the RSA Christchurch, and well attended by members of the foundation, researchers as well as staff and board members. For the first time, Cheryl Doig, the board chair of our subsidiary, the New Zealand Brain Research Institute, presented her annual report at the meeting, and spoke to the Institute's successes in the past year. Professor John Horwood of the Christchurch Health and Development Study gave a very timely speech around the long term effects of cannibis use. If you weren't able to attend the meeting but would like to watch his presentation you can view it here:


Prof Frank Frizelle, who lead the breakthrough in bowel cancer research at the University of Otago at Christchurch was a past recipient of CMRF funding

Professor Frizelle is the Professor of Colorectal Surgery and Head of the University of Otago Department of Surgery at Christchurch. The proceeds of the CMRF Wine & Art auction in 2015 went towards funding research into bowel cancer by Prof Frizelle and his team which was aimed at four main areas: finding out what causes bowel cancer, working out how it can be diagnosed earlier, determining the best treatment and improving quality of life after bowel cancer.

Dr Rachel Purcell who has been a primary investigator into the role of the “bad” bacteria now discovered in the gut of almost 80% of people with a cancerous lesion, was also awarded a CMRF Project Grant in 2015 which she completed in 2017.

To learn more visit: .


Important findings from CMRF-funded study into the effects of passive smoking on children

Christchurch Health and Development Study gets funding boost as 2018 Wine and Art Auction Recipient

The Canterbury Medical Research Foundation (CMRF) announced today, the recipient of its 25th Annual Wine and Art Auction on December 1st.

The Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS) has been in existence for 40 years. During this time the team has followed the health, education and life progress of a group of 1,265 children born in the Christchurch (New Zealand) urban region during mid-1977.

This cohort has now been studied from infancy into childhood, adolescence and adulthood. The data gathered over the course of the study now comprises some 50 million characters of information, with which the study has published over 480 scientific papers, reports, books and book chapters describing the 40-year life history of the Christchurch Health and Development Study cohort.

The team have studied such things as

  • The effects of parental smoking on childhood respiratory illness
  • The impacts of low level lead exposure on cognitive development and behaviour
  • The effects of childhood sexual abuse on educational achievement and psycho-social adjustment
  • The impacts of adolescent cannabis use on educational achievement and mental health
  • The effects of the Canterbury Earthquakes on the psychological wellbeing of cohort members exposed to the quakes
  • The development of the Early Start home-visiting programme

The annual CMRF Wine and Art Auction has raised more than 1.6 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. The event which attracts wine and art collectors from all over the city, will gift a guaranteed $100,000 to this important project.

 “We are incredibly lucky to have the support of some of Canterbury’s favourite visual artists who donate their talent to provide an incredible offering of artwork for sale at this event.” Says Kate Russell, Chief Executive of the Foundation. “This is complemented by a stunning array of collectable wines that really showcase the best in the vintner’s art from our region”

Inaugural Cancer Fundraiser a Great Day Out

March 16th the weather Gods smiled down on CMRF and the Cancer Society Canterbury West Coast as we combined forces to hold the first "Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow" Golf Tournament at Russley Golf Course.

The ambrose tournament was a sell out with 33 teams vying for the new trophy.

Our sincere thanks to Craigs Investment Partners who yet again showed their commitment to our cause by sponsoring the event and to the many hole sponsors, auction contributors and supporters who gave generously to ensure this fundraiser was a success.  We raised more than $20,000 on the day which is a tremendous result for year one.  We are already looking forward to the 2019 event!



2018 Athol Mann Memorial Lecture

"Vitamin C – A simple solution to some complex problems" Professor Margreet Vissers and Dr Anitra Carr, University of Otago

Prof Margreet Vissers is a senior health research scientist based at the University of Otago, Christchurch, leading a research team investigating vitamin C and its many functions in the body.

Vitamin C has potential as a support for enzymes involved with cancer cell survival and metabolism, epigenetic programming, immune cell function, hormone synthesis and energy production. Oxidant stress occurs as a consequence of our existence in an oxygen-rich environment and is the cause of many of the diseases of aging and the development of chronic diseases like heart disease, arthritis and cancer.

Antioxidants protect against these conditions and Assoc Prof Vissers’ research has led to the discovery of new roles for food-based antioxidants in the maintenance of good health and disease prevention.

Dr Anitra Carr is a Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellow in the Department of Pathology at the University of Otago’s Christchurch School of Medicine. Following a PhD at the University of Otago, Christchurch, Dr Carr obtained an American Heart Association Post-doctoral Fellowship.

Dr Carr has received funding from the Health Research Council of New Zealand and the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation to undertake research into the role of vitamin C in severe infection, including pneumonia and sepsis. Dr Carr hopes to not only elucidate the underlying mechanisms of action of vitamin C, but to also improve the outcomes of patients with these conditions.

Please join us at 6.00pm at the Rolleston Theatre, Otago Medical School, Christchurch. Thursday 24th May, 2018 for this free public lecture. Refreshments will be served

Registrations essential

Please email, - call on 3531 243 or visit to register online

Public Lecture Announced for 2018

Professor Peter Langhorne of Glasgow University is visiting New Zealand early in 2018, to speak at a Stroke Conference here in Christchurch.  CMRF have funded Prof Langhorne's visit as the 2017 Don Beaven TravellingFellow.  The Prof will be delivering a public lecture on February 1st on recovery and rehabilitation after stroke.  Visit our events page for details

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!



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




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