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What a difference a year makes

Today, the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute marks the first anniversary of Toowoomba businessman Clive Berghofer’s stunning announcement of a $50.1 million gift to the Institute.

QIMR Berghofer Director, Professor Frank Gannon, said it had been a year of extraordinary research outcomes.

“On August 7, 2013, Clive single-handedly transformed medical research in Australia and we will all benefit from his generosity,” Professor Gannon said.

“His gift – on top of $10 million he’d previously given the Institute – future-proofed us, freeing up scientists to focus on their world-leading research in cancer, infectious diseases, mental health and complex disorders.”

In the 12 months since Clive Berghofer’s announcement, QIMR Berghofer has:

• Discovered that a key protein on the surface of immune cells helps to camouflage cancer, offering a new treatment target;
• Opened new insectary quarantine facilities and imported Australia’s only mainland colony of Asian Tiger Mosquitoes, carriers of Dengue fever and Chikungunya;
• Launched one of the world’s biggest studies of Vitamin D’s role in our health;
• Shown remarkable results in a Phase I clinical trial for an experimental immunotherapy treatment for brain cancer;
• Shown that melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma rates are falling in young Australians for the first time;
• Identified a genetic “switch” which indicates whether a woman’s breast cancer will spread;
• Tested new anti-malarial drugs on humans infected with malaria parasites, using a unique, safe system developed at QIMR Berghofer; and
• Started a two-year trial of a rheumatoid arthritis medication to treat asthma.
“These are just a few highlights from a remarkable year,” Professor Gannon said.

“Thanks to Clive’s generosity, we are able to focus on diseases that affect us locally and globally, and continue with our mission of better health through medical research”.