Professor Andrew Boyd
Professor of Experimental Haematology
& former head of the Leukaemia Foundation Research Unit
As the chair of the Leukaemia Foundation’s Grant Review Committee, a member of the National Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee and the Head of the Leukaemia Foundation Research Unit, Professor Boyd is internationally recognised as a leading haematology expert.
Professor Andrew Boyd received his B.Med.Sc in 1970, followed by an MBBS in 1973 and a PhD in 1981 – all from Melbourne University (MU). He became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 1983. From 1974 to 1978 he worked as Resident Medical Officer, Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH), and then Medical Registrar, followed by a position as Haematology Registrar with Austin Hospital, Melbourne.
Professor Boyd undertook an NH&MRC postgraduate fellowship with Professor Sir Gustav Nossal at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI). After a period as the Lyndal Skea Leukaemia Research fellow in the laboratory of Professor Don Metcalf he moved to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School to study lymphoma.
He returned to Australia as a laboratory head at WEHI, studying proteins expressed by leukaemia and lymphoma. He was also appointed Head of the Monoclonal Antibody Laboratory, Collaborative Research Centre for Cellular Growth Factors in 1992.
Leukaemia and related diseases remain major causes of illness and mortality despite advances in therapy. Even when effective therapies are often quite toxic. My research efforts have always been directed to understanding the changes which convert a normal cell into a cancer cell. By identifying genes which contribute to this process, I hope to identify targets for treatment which might be more specific and less toxic.
An example is the EphA3 gene which is abnormally expressed in leukaemias and other cancers. We discovered this gene in a leukaemia some years ago. Painstaking research over many years has led to the commencement of clinical trials targeting the EphA3 protein. Importantly, this treatment has no toxicity so that once we determine how best to use it we hope to improve the cure rate and do so without side-effects.
In 1996 he was appointed as Senior Principal Research Fellow and Head, Leukaemia Foundation Research Unit, Leukocyte Biology unit; Professor of Experimental Haematology, University of Queensland; Chairman, Joint Program for Experimental Haematology at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and the University of Queensland; and consultant haematologist, Department of Haematology at the Royal Brisbane Hospital.
In 2000 he was appointed as Assistant Director of QIMR Berghofer with special responsibilities for translational and clinical research. In recent years his lab has focused on the development of novel therapies and two candidate therapies are in advanced pre-clinical and early clinical trials.