Gene lab all ready
A cure for cancer could be found in the basement of an international expert lured to Whangarei by its scenic beauty and good lifestyle.
Dr Armand Sinclair has built a laboratory under his new home at Whangarei Heads where he hopes to continue his work on gene therapy cancer treatment.
The German-qualified doctor has already had great success with his research overseas, including clinical trials in Iran.
It is the first time a gene therapy treatment has been delivered intravenously to cancer patients without any side-effects.
"People with just two weeks to live got reversals after eight weeks' treatment and lived for a year or longer with no further treatment," he says.
Dr Sinclair would like to continue his research here, improving the efficiency of the treatment to get greater success in destroying tumours.
He wants his laboratory to be an area of study for national and international students.
Eventually he would also like to do clinical trials with the hope of moving to full-scale production in Whangarei's industrial area.
He wants to show youngsters that there is a future in science.
"I hope to create something of innovation in New Zealand to inspire the many young people. It's not money that motivates me. I hope to treat cancer patients that have no hope."
Dr Sinclair needs approval from the Environmental Protection Authority and the Ministry for Primary Industries before he can start work in the lab.
He will also need approval from the Ministry of Health before he can start clinical trials.
Dr Sinclair is reaching out to the community for friendship and support.
"I've invested everything from my own pocket, I'm not saying that I want to have money. The only thing that I want from the community is friendship and that they appreciate what I'm doing."
Setbacks include all of his equipment and furniture being stolen from a secure container facility in Auckland, costing "a few hundred thousand dollars".
But he has still built his six-room laboratory to the highest standards including air locks, air filters, UV radiators and autoclaves.
He says removing any source of contamination also helps with his high-standard experiments.
"If you have got a good and clean facility with a high standard your own experiments work better," Dr Sinclair says.