Eru Pōmare Medal Awarded at NZSG ASM

Posted Monday December 11, 2023

The Eru Pōmare Medal is awarded to a Society Member who has demonstrated excellence in an area or areas of Professor Pōmare's work – teaching, research, nutrition, clinical gastroenterology, public health, Māori health and leadership.

The Society's inaugural recipient of this medal is Professor Ed Gane who has made a huge global contribution to finding a cure for Hepatitis C. His medical training began in New Zealand at University of Otago, and then in London where he completed his MD on the pathogenesis of HCV-induced liver injury following transplantation for HCV-cirrhosis.

Image by: NZ Gastro Office

In 1998, Prof. Gane was appointed as Chief Hepatologist and Deputy Director for the first New Zealand Liver Transplant programme at Auckland City Hospital. Over the next decade he and colleagues worked to find a more effective and less toxic treatment than interferon for Hep C. In 2010 he and Prof Catherine Stedman, together with Australian colleagues published the first trial exploring combined oral antiviral therapy for hepatitis C, and in 2011 New Zealand performed the first trial of interferon-free treatment of hepatitis C with sofosbuvir. All forty patients were cured, and once these results were presented by Prof Gane in San Francisco, the global direction of hepatitis C treatment changed. After numerous other clinical trials of drug combinations, oral antiviral drug therapy for hepatitis C has been licenced and resulted in millions of people being cured so that there is now a global goal of hepatitis C elimination.

Prof Gane has also been a longstanding member of the Hepatitis Foundation Board, and Ministry of Health Clinical Advisor for the National Hepatitis B Screening and Follow up Programme, as well as overseeing multiple large studies evaluating factors associated with hepatitis B progression in Māori. He has been a member of the NZSG Executive, and Chairperson of multiple Ministry of Health committees and advisory groups and advisor to both PHARMAC and PTAC advisory committees. He co-wrote the first New Zealand National HepC Action Plan.

Prof Gane continues as an investigator for many international clinical trials for liver disease and liver cancer, with particular interest in trials aiming to find a finite hepatitis B functional cure as well as a novel gene-editing study for amyloidosis. He is a highly published researcher with an international standing that is hugely respected. He is a member of APASL, EASL, ILTS, ILCA and AASLD and is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Hepatology. He is an Elected Fellow of both the AASLD and the Royal Society of New Zealand. Prof Gane has also received many awards and accolades including:

  • New Zealand Health Research Council: Beaven Medal for best funded research project (2011), and Liley Medal for outstanding contribution to the health and medical sciences (2014)
  • Member of the Order of New Zealand for Services to Medicine (2011)
  • New Zealand Innovator of the Year for his work towards HCV elimination in New Zealand (2017)

He has fostered and developed the specialty of hepatology in New Zealand, and has mentored and encouraged many younger hepatologists.

Prof Edward (Ed) Gane has epitomised the Eru Pōmare Medal ethos, with his focus on patient care, bettering the health and overall life of patients and their whanau. The NZSG is honoured to award him the inaugural Eru Pōmare Medal for his contributions to the Society, the people of Aotearoa, and indeed the World's Gastroenterology and Hepatology Community. 

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