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Transplant researcher wins TRI award

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute Senior Scientist Professor Geoff Hill has been awarded the Translational Research Institute (TRI) National Prize for research improving health outcomes for patients.

Professor Hill heads QIMR Berghofer’s Bone Marrow Transplant laboratory and his work has led to life-saving changes in clinical practice for the treatment of patients with blood cancers such as leukaemia.

Director of QIMR Berghofer Professor Frank Gannon has congratulated Professor Hill for his ongoing commitment to translational research.

“Successful stem cell transplantation is limited by a number of factors including graft versus host disease (GVHD), relapse of leukaemia and infection,” Professor Gannon said.

“Professor Hill’s research has made major contributions to our understanding of these problems and has helped to address them in transplant units across the world.”

The TRI National Prize is for “an outstanding example of Australian translational research that has resulted, or is highly likely to result, in a technology or treatment to improve human health.”

Professor Hill has been based in Brisbane since 2000 and is a bone marrow transplant physician as well as Director of Research in Cancer Care at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

His latest paper – published in Lancet Oncology this month – reported on clinical trials at RBWH which significantly reduced cases of acute GVHD, a potentially fatal complication from bone marrow transplants.

The incidence of acute GVHD was reduced from the usual 50%, to 12% of transplant patients in the trial.

The most severe cases – likely to result in the patient’s death – were cut from 21% to 4%.

Professor Hill is an NHMRC Australia Fellow and a Queensland Health Senior Clinical Research Fellow.