Award-winning international banker to lead brain cancer research
Brain cancer research is expected to gain new heights in 2021 as multi-award-winning international banker Lance Kawaguchi has taken on the helm of Cure Brain Cancer Foundation as chief executive officer effective 1 January, 2021, the foundation announced in a media release.
Interim Chair Beverley Trivett welcomed Kawaguchi, who has experience working across North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East as a leader in the financial world.
“Throughout the shared trauma of the global pandemic, Cure Brain Cancer realised the need to refocus and unite our community. To make lasting change, we know we need people with expertise, leadership and courage, and the board is confident the appointment of the new CEO will ensure we improve our support and advocacy for people living with brain cancer,” Trivett said.
Moving from banking to the social mission sector has been deeply personal for Kawaguchi.
“I made a vow to my mother to use my talents and skills to create change during some point throughout my career. She was an educator who made a profound impact on the lives of people living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. My mother died of cancer in 2016,” Kawaguchi said.
According to data from the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, the survival rate for people with brain cancer has not shifted for more than 30 years in Australia. It kills more children than any other disease and more people under 40 than any other cancer. A lack of effective treatments means only 20% of people survive brain cancer five years following their diagnosis.
“As CEO I intend to maintain a strong focus on the people and families living with brain cancer who we support and advocate for – so that they can receive the best possible treatment and support when, where and how they need it. To this end, we are focused on launching a brand-new website at the beginning of February 2021 which will be tailored specifically to the needs of the people and communities we serve,” Kawaguchi said.
Under Kawaguchi’s leadership, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation will explore global markets and partner with like-minded organisations in the United Kingdom, United States and Europe where the incidents of brain cancer are just as significant as they are in Australia.
“We’re already making global connections with those who share our passion to spearhead ground- breaking research in brain cancer treatments with a focus on biotechnology and biooncology. New funding approaches will enable us to invite in and embrace global brain cancer research opportunities,” he said.
Kawaguchi also reformed the foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee by recruiting internationally-recognised leaders in brain cancer who advise on research funding and policy decisions. With this move, Kawaguchi hopes to ensure that the foundation funds only the most promising, innovative research and deliver the greatest impact to people living with brain cancer.
Cure Brain Cancer Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee include cancer research experts such as Professor Webster K. Cavenee, Ph.D. Of the University of California, San Diego, Patrick Wen, M.D. of the Harvard Medical School, and John F. de Groot, M.D. of the University of Texas, among others.
“As we reach out to international markets, we will continue to build on the substantial work that has already been achieved by the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation to date. I’m so proud to be part of this incredible team who have worked tirelessly and with such dedication to improve the lives of people living with brain cancer,” Kawaguchi said.