Dr. Peter Welburn Launch of LEO Pharma Australia Interview
Their Royal Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark were present at the launch of the first ever Australian-Danish dermatology research collaboration. The LEO Foundation Scholarships for Dermatology Research will provide a unique opportunity for PhD students to conduct research projects in dermatology (skin research) at the University of Queensland and the University of Copenhagen.
Australia is generally thought to be the 'skin cancer capital' of the world with two in three people diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.1 Denmark also has one of the highest recorded incidences of skin cancer.
The joint scholarship program will aim to further scientific and clinical knowledge in this very important field of medicine. The value of each scholarship will be AUD$100,000 over the three year research period representing a significant investment in Australian led research designed to support advanced medical care for people living with skin conditions and skin cancer.
The scholarship program was announced during the official opening of the Australian affiliate of Danish company LEO Pharma. The LEO Foundation Scholarships in Dermatology are supported by The LEO Foundation, established in 1984 to ensure the long-term existence of LEO Pharma as a successful research-based organisation.
General Manager of LEO Pharma Australia, Dr Peter Welburn said: "LEO Pharma is committed to furthering research within dermatology and to helping patients achieve healthy skin. At LEO Pharma Australia, we are delighted that the LEO Foundation is able to sponsor a unique dermatology scholarship programme between Australia and Denmark."
Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess has been working with the Danish Cancer Society to support skin cancer awareness programs throughout Denmark, which has one of the highest incidences of skin cancer in the world.
Gitte Aabo, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President of LEO Pharma in Denmark said the company shared the known passion that HRH Crown Princess Mary has for prevention and better outcomes associated with skin cancers: "We are honoured to have Their Royal Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark officially open our Australian affiliate today. The unique visit reflects our company's Danish heritage and the strong ties between our two nations."
"LEO Pharma is committed to furthering dermatology research and helping patients achieve healthy skin. Research is a crucial stepping stone to improving treatment for skin disease and skin cancer in the future. Australia is a very important market for us."
"The LEO Foundation Scholarships for Dermatology Research will expand our knowledge in skin cancer for the benefit of patients - not just in Australia and Denmark, but also worldwide. By paving the way for new, innovative treatment opportunities, the scholarship can help us improve people's quality of life," Ms Aabo continued.
Other guests at the event will include political representatives, leaders in medical research and community organisations.
A proud Australian heritage: In 2009, LEO Pharma announced that it was acquiring Peplin Inc., a Brisbane-based biotechnology research company. When LEO Pharma acquired Peplin in 2009, it was a development stage Australian biotechnology company focused on advancing and commercialising innovative medical dermatology products.
Peplin was founded in 1998 by Dr Jim Aylward, who was interested in evaluating the anti-cancer properties of natural products sourced from plants, utilising facilities at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR).
Poul Rasmussen, Chairperson of the LEO Board and The LEO Foundation said: "The LEO Foundation is proud to fund The LEO Foundation Scholarships for Dermatology Research, which are expected to make a significant contribution to skin cancer - not only in terms of research, but also in terms of patient care."
"Skin cancer is a global challenge requiring a global approach. The scholarships will build international centres of excellence in skin cancer research in Australia and Denmark. New talent will have a unique opportunity to build on existing research and share knowledge across borders. Thanks to this valuable collaboration, we have new way of advancing research in this complex field and improving quality of life for patients," Mr Rasmussen concluded.
Interview with Dr. Peter WelburnQuestion:
Could you explain what the LEO Foundation Scholarships for Dermatology Research is?Dr. Peter Welburn
: The LEO Foundation is supporting a collaborative research based PhD degree program between the University of Queensland in Australia and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. The objective of the scholarship program is to provide an opportunity for medical/scientific researchers working in the field of dermatology to gain further training and experience within specialist units located in Australia and in Denmark, particularly in the area of skin cancer.
Australia and Denmark share a high incidence of skin cancer. Together with the Danish commitment to this field, The LEO Foundation and LEO Pharma believe there is an excellent opportunity to make a difference and to expand further the excellent research in the fields of science and medicine, hence the establishment of the scholarship program.Question:
Can you talk about the experience of having the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark present at the launch?Dr. Peter Welburn
: We were truly honoured to have Their Royal Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark to officially open our Australian affiliate. We felt their presence reflected our company's Danish heritage and the strong ties between our two nations. We share the passion of HRH Crown Princess Mary for prevention and better outcomes associated with skin cancers and she is a great ambassador for this important issue.Question:
How will the unique dermatology scholarship support LEO Pharma commitment to helping patients achieve healthy skin?Dr. Peter Welburn
: We feel that the scholarships will provide an excellent opportunity for students to draw from the medical expertise of the two universities involved and in so doing build strong relationships between the research institutions in both countries. This collaboration will lead the way to an increased understanding and potential to effectively treat or even prevent skin cancer. LEO Pharma is dedicated to the research and development of therapies in the field of dermatology, with a particular interest in the prevention of the various forms of skin cancers.
LEO Pharma allocates 17 per cent of its turnover to research and development of future medicines, within a wide range of dermatological indications. These scholarships are a significant investment in Australian led research.Question:
What benefits will Australia have in partnering with Denmark in terms of skin research?Dr. Peter Welburn
: Australia is generally thought to be the 'skin cancer capital' of the world, and Denmark also has one of the highest recorded incidences of skin cancer. Skin cancer is a global challenge requiring a global approach. The research based scholarship program provides an excellent opportunity for exchange of ideas, and conducting the needed research in this important medical field. Through the interest of the Danish Skin Cancer Council and academic institutions, Denmark has also recognised the importance of research and support for this medical discipline. This has been showcased by the recent UV and Skin Cancer Prevention conference held in Copenhagen.
These research based scholarships will build international centres of excellence in skin cancer research in Australia and Denmark. Exceptional talent will have a unique opportunity to build on existing research and share knowledge across borders. Thanks to this valuable collaboration, we have new way of advancing research in this complex field and improving quality of life for patients.Question:
Denmark also has one of the highest recorded incidences of skin cancer, how do they compare with the Australian average of two in three people diagnosed?Dr. Peter Welburn
: The number of new patients presenting with skin cancer has been increasing rapidly over the past 50 years in Denmark every year in Denmark around 6,500 people are diagnosed with BCC (basal cell carcinoma) and around 1100 are diagnosed with SCC (squamous cell carcinoma) and every year more than 1,300 people are diagnosed with malignant melanoma. This is in a relatively small population of around 5,300,000.Question:
What is LEO Pharma's aim?Dr. Peter Welburn
: Founded in 1908, LEO Pharma has spent more than 100 years assisting patients throughout the world - and this is something that we strive to continue delivering.
The first LEO company was founded in Denmark when two pharmacists, Kongsted and Antons bought a pharmacy in Copenhagen and set up pharmaceutical production in the basement using the latest advances in technology. From these humble beginnings, LEO Pharma has grown into a truly global enterprise; one that I am proud to be part of. LEO Pharma is committed to furthering research within dermatology and through effective medical treatment help patients achieve healthy skin and therefore helping people all over the world enjoy a better quality of life.Question:
What tips do you have for protecting our skin, not just in the summer months, but all year round?Dr. Peter Welburn
: There are a range of high quality, affordable sun protection products available in Australia, I always recommend using a factor 30+ sunscreen, wearing sunglasses, UV protective clothing and hats as well as using pop-up sun shelters, marquees, and umbrellas when spending a day in the sun.
However, one of our main problems in Australia is that, for many, the damage to the skin has already been done. Research shows that only one in three Australians over 40 had a skin check in the past year, yet two in three Australians will be diagnosed with a form of skin cancer before the age of 701. This is a major issue and something that LEO Pharma are striving to change.
The "Know Your Own Skin" campaign, supported by LEO Pharma, provides Australians with information and advice to help them better appreciate, understand and care for their skin. There have been a number of hugely successful campaigns around sun protection such as Slip Slap Slop from the Cancer Council and, as a result, awareness of the need for sun protection in the summer months is well accepted. Other campaigns have focused on the dangers of melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer.
However, research shows there is a large awareness 'gap' around the long-term effects of sun burn/exposure and the other types of skin cancers that can develop. Since many people over the age of 40 lived in the pre- era, they enjoyed time in the strong Australian sunshine with minimal protection and without being aware of the dangers. Therefore, the damage to their skin has already been done.
"Know Your Own Skin" is designed to help raise awareness of the long-term consequences of repeated sun exposure and the need to identify skin lesions early, before they have the chance to progress to something more dangerous.
The campaign is designed to complement existing campaigns by other organisations and address the present sun damage awareness gap.
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