Oncologist goes the extra mile

BCAC is delighted that Palmerston North oncologist, Dr Richard Isaacs, (pictured above) has been acknowledged in the Queen’s Birthday honours as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Dr Isaacs was instrumental in the battle to secure Government funding for a 12-month treatment programme of Herceptin for women with HER2 Positive breast cancer.
He’s been honoured for his contribution to ensuring cancer patients have access to world-class treatment, as well as his contributions to research and breast cancer care.

BCAC chairperson, Libby Burgess, says Dr Isaacs award is well deserved.

“Dr Isaacs played a huge role in the Herceptin debate. He provided an objective scientific voice in the campaign and in doing so radically improved the prognosis for many women.”

Libby says Dr Isaacs was also mindful of the high cost of Herceptin and the extreme stress this put on families so offered the drug at the lowest possible price. Unfortunately there was no standard cost across NZ for administration and price variances were evident across the country.

“He has consistently shown compassion, sensitivity and generosity to his own patients and to the wider New Zealand cancer population to an admirable degree," Libby says.

Dr Isaacs is chairman of the Breast Cancer Special Interest Group, a sub-group of the New Zealand Association of Cancer Specialists.  He has been involved in more than 20 medical oncology clinical trials, is vice president of the Palmerston North Research Foundation and has worked extensively with Massey University's Institute of Molecular Biosciences, particularly with breast cancer and melanoma researcher Kathryn Stowell.