Gillies McIndoe Research Institute
Doug Mollor The Presedent of NZIHE presenting a check of $5000 to Swee Tan to be used for cancer research in the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute
In 2000, plastic surgeon Dr Swee Tan and senior scientist Dr Paul Davis discovered a gene involved in the spontaneous regression of strawberry birthmarks. In the same year, they discovered another gene responsible for steroid-induced regression of these tumours.
Dr Tan and Dr Davis also developed a new system of growing strawberry birthmarks in the laboratory.
The research team and their collaborators subsequently discovered stem cells arising from the placenta are the origin of strawberry birthmark, and that these stem cells are regulated by the renin-angiotensin system. They showed that it is possible to manipulate the renin-angiotensin system to cause self-destruction of tumour stem cells in strawberry birthmarks.