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2016 iCMLf Prize winner - Associate Professor Susan Branfordsusan branford

The iCMLf has awarded the 2016 iCMLf prize to Associate Professor Susan Branford. This award recognises the critically important work she has performed to improve the quality and availability of reliable molecular testing for CML in the emerging regions. Her efforts have significantly impacted and improved the management of so many CML patients in these regions.

The iCMLf Prize is awarded annually by the iCMLf to recognise outstanding contributions to the improvement of CML treatment in the emerging economic regions. The iCMLf Prize was formally named the ERSAP (Emerging Regions Support and Partnership Prize) and was first awarded in 2015 to Pat Garcia-Gonzalez, CEO of The Max Foundation.

'Sue Branford is recognised as a leading international authority on molecular monitoring for CML, but we have awarded her the iCMLf Prize especially for her substantial contributions to the emerging regions. Sue has performed critically important work to standardize the RQ-PCR test in over a hundred laboratories in South America, Asia and Africa. She has also personally trained scientists in diagnostic testing in Malaysia, India, Taiwan, China, South Africa, and South America, demonstrating the importance of treatment monitoring and providing recommendations to optimise molecular testing locally.' explained Professor Tim Hughes, chairman of the iCMLf.

Dr Branford is a frequent advisor to the iCMLf regarding the most efficient use of funds to support fledgling molecular laboratories in the emerging regions, as well as supporting training of scientists and clinicians in molecular monitoring. She has also worked with Cepheid and the iCMLf in aiding access and training for the GeneXpert machine, sending left over cartridges to centres in Africa for diagnostic testing. Using fees received from consulting, Sue has recently performed QPCR and mutation analysis for over 80 patients from the Philippines. This has made a huge difference to the management of many of these patients.

Susan Branford holds the position of an Associate Professor at the School of Medicine and the School of Molecular and Biomedical Science of Adelaide University in Australia. She is also Head of the Leukaemia Unit at the Department of Molecular and Genetic Pathology, Centre for Cancer Biology, SA Pathology and University of South Australia in Adelaide.

Susan Branford's research focuses on molecular analysis of patients with CML treated with kinase inhibitor therapy. These analyses include monitoring the levels of BCR-ABL mRNA as an indication of treatment response, and resistance assessment by mutation analysis of the BCR-ABL kinase domain. She also contributed significantly to the formulation of international guidelines for the performance and standardization of the molecular methods to quantitate BCR-ABL by RQ-PCR.

An abstract of Sue Branford's keynote lecture when accepting the iCMLf Prize can be found here.