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Queensland’s medical vision for the future

The new $22 million Herston Imaging Research Facility (HIRF) took a major step forward today with a signing ceremony witnessed by Queensland Minister for Health, Lawrence Springborg.

The alliance between the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR), The University of Queensland (UQ), Metro North Hospital and Health Service through Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) will drive vital reform in health care delivery.

QIMR director Professor Frank Gannon said the research facility brought together four of Brisbane’s leading research and clinical organisations to explore new ways to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, mental health and neurological diseases.

HIRF will be pivotally positioned between the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital and QIMR, adjacent to UQCCR, with an outpatient floor that has direct access to the major referral hospital.

The facility will have a combination of cutting-edge molecular imaging equipment dedicated to human research, including an advanced MRI and a PET/MR machine which gives simultaneous information on the location and function of tumours, such as in the brain.

HIRF would also allow for large-scale research into the causes of a broad range of serious mental health and neurological diseases and cancers.

“We’ll be working towards new diagnostic tests for mental illnesses, deeper understanding of the causes, and personalised interventions for individuals, as well as testing new treatments,” Professor Gannon said.

Equipment will be funded by a $3 million Queensland government grant, in addition to funding from the Commonwealth Government through the Department of Health and Ageing, industry and partner contributions, and a grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation.