A Newcastle-based research group whose work has helped save millions of lives worldwide has been handed the Key to the City.
L-R: Dr Soozy Smith, CEO of Breast Cancer Trials, Professor John Forbes AM, Founder of Breast Cancer Trials, Professor Bruce Mann, Chair of Breast Cancer Trials and Lord Mayor of Newcastle Nuatali Nelmes.
Breast Cancer Trials, formerly known as the Breast Cancer Institute of Australia and the Australia and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group, has spent the past 40 years finding new and better treatments and prevention strategies for people affected by breast cancer.
Lord Mayor of Newcastle Nuatali Nelmes said the organisation had gone from strength to strength since forming in 1978 and moving its headquarters to Newcastle 10 years later.
"This is an organisation that helped establish Newcastle as a world leader in medical research," she said.
"More importantly, its work in conjunction with other similar groups worldwide has helped save millions of lives over the past 40 years.
"Four decades ago, our mothers and grandmothers were having their breast cancer treated by radical mastectomy - a severe and debilitating surgery.
"Thanks to research by Breast Cancer Trials and their collaborators, we now know that breast cancer is not just one disease but many, and, in many cases, there are now far less invasive treatment options."
Breast Cancer Trials now includes more than 800 members, consisting chiefly of surgeons, oncologists, nurses and other medical professionals.
Their research takes place at 90 locations across Australia and New Zealand, all coordinated by a dedicated team based in Newcastle's CBD.
"We as a city are so proud of the people involved in this life-saving organisation," the Lord Mayor said.
"More than that - we are so very grateful."
Breast Cancer Trials CEO Dr Soozy Smith accepted the Key to the City this morning at City Hall.
In doing so, the organisation has officially become a City Ambassador.
Cr Nelmes said the City of Newcastle Ambassador Program was established in July 2017 to highlight the efforts of individual Novocastrians and groups who contribute significantly to the city.
The Program is an informal acknowledgment of excellence and complements Council's formal Freeman of the City, Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the year and Community Group of the Year awards.