What do we research?
One of QIMR Berghofer’s four research programs is cancer, one of the major causes of illness and death in Australia and the developed world. We research a wide range of different cancers including: leukemia/lymphoma, liver, lung, melanoma, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, skin, stomach, and thyroid.
Mental illnesses encompass disorders of mood, thinking, perception, communication and function. Some mental illnesses studied at the Institute include: addiction, austistic spectrum disorders, child and youth mental health, dementia, Alzheimer's, depression, anxiety, and psychotic disorders.
Scientists at QIMR Berghofer aim to develop drugs and vaccines, as well as establish prevention and education strategies against infectious diseases caused by parasites, bacteria and viruses. Infectious diseases we research include: cytomegalovirus, dengue, Epstein-Barr virus, HIV, infection-related cancers, leishmania, malaria, parasites, respiratory syncytial virus, Ross River virus, scabies, schistosomiasis, and tuberculosis.
One of QIMR Berghofer’s four research programs is chronic disorders: complex conditions affecting the quality of life and health prospects of people around the world. Chronic disorders we research include: asthma, cardiovascular, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, endocrine, endometriosis, epilepsy, CNS structure and function, inflammatory bowel disease, liver, maternal and pregnancy health, migraine, rheumatology and thalassaemia.
What can we do with your help?
Cancer accounts for about 3 in 10 deaths in Australia, and will kill over 47,000 Australians in 2017. Professor Rajiv Khanna AO, Senior Scientist, Tumour Immunology Laboratory, launched a world-first immunotherapy clinical trial to treat brain cancer, equipping our own immune system to fight cancer.
Over the last 10 years, immunotherapy has emerged as the “fourth pillar” in cancer treatment, along with surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Professor Khanna is currently leading four world-first clinical trials using immunotherapy to treat cancers and other conditions. Professor Khanna has also developed an immunotherapy treatment which is currently in clinical trials, both in Australia and internationally, for the head and neck cancer, nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
“More funding for immunotherapy research will help us commence additional major clinical trials in Australia, especially brain cancer” — Professor Rajiv Khanna AO
Dementia is the greatest cause of disability in older Australians aged over 65. Dr Christine Guo, Lead Scientist, Translational Neuroscience Laboratory, launched a five year study to detect Alzheimer’s in its earliest stages and identify those at high risk of developing the disease.
The Prospective Imaging Study of Ageing (PISA), has 400 participants and uses genetic tests to identify whether participants are at low or high risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and then uses a combination of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging to examine changes in the structure, function and metabolism of the brain over time. Researchers also use online questionnaires to track changes in the participants behaviour and lifestyle to better understand risk factors for the disease.
"Your support will help us find a way to detect dementia at its early stage, in order to deliver early, effective intervention." — Dr Christine Guo
Malaria causes the deaths of approximately 429,000 people worldwide per year; most are children under 5 years of age. Professor James McCarthy, Senior Scientist, Clinical Tropical Medicine, is testing potential drugs in human clinical studies in Brisbane, and developing promising immunotherapy treatments.
The induced human infection model, an approach developed in partnership with scientists at QIMR Berghofer led by Professor James McCarthy, enables testing of promising candidate antimalarial drugs in healthy volunteers inoculated with a small number of malaria parasites, without putting them at risk. Using this new method, potential new drugs can be tested on fewer patients, data can be collated more quickly and at a lower cost, and the drugs can then progress to large-scale clinical trials.
“More funding for this work will assist in speeding up the development of these much needed treatments”
— Professor James McCarthy
Asthma attacks are responsible for 39,500 hospital admissions and 419 deaths every year in Australia. Dr Manuel Ferreira, Group Leader, Asthma Genetics, launched a world-first trial to identify new treatments by studying the genetic make-up of people with asthma.
As part of this world-first clinical trial, patients will have their asthma induced under safe conditions. It follows the discovery by Dr Manuel Ferreira that a specific gene is particularly active in asthma patients, increasing the immune system’s response to the protein IL-6. The study aims to find genes that are faulty in asthma patients and then test methods that can correct that problem; potentially these ‘smarter’ treatments could be very effective in managing asthma.
“The results so far are very promising, so we would be thrilled if we could secure additional funding to ensure that any breakthroughs are made accessible to patients as quickly as possible.” — Dr Manuel Ferreira
How can you help?
Research is expensive and support from the community is essential to allow crucial research pathways to be followed.
When you choose to give to QIMR Berghofer, 100% of your donation goes directly to research. You help us seize the opportunities presented by our brightest scientists and fulfil our pioneering promise to local and global communities of better quality of life through medical research.
Thank you for your support!