Letter from
Director and CEO
Fabienne Mackay

Dear Supporter,

Associate Professor Anthony White with his parents on his graduation day

In his worst nightmare, dementia researcher Associate Professor Anthony White could not have imagined he’d watch his beloved mum slip painfully away to the very disease he was dedicated to fighting.

A neuroscientist at the top of his game when his mother’s devastating diagnosis came in 2000, the QIMR Berghofer scientist could do nothing to save her.

“I was utterly helpless. My father would often ask if there were any new drugs coming, was there anything we could do to help. There wasn’t anything I could offer. It was incredibly painful and frustrating not being able to offer anything useful.”

The cruel twist of fate only strengthened Anthony’s resolve. Now, after many more years of outstanding medical research, he stands on the precipice of one of the most exciting breakthroughs in dementia treatment for twenty years.

“In the last two decades we have grown our understanding of how complex dementia is. While a lot of the focus has been on treating people after they’ve had very overt symptoms, we want to stop dementia as early as possible to try and slow the disease early.”

Associate Professor White has successfully developed an invitro brain model to study the ability of drugs to pass across cell barriers. QIMR Berghofer is working with the Queensland Brain Institute’s CJCADR Director and world-renowned therapeutic ultrasound expert, Professor Jürgen Götz, on their world-first research to deliver drugs across the blood-brain barrier using ultrasound.

This is an amazing advance in medical science, one that could for the very first time – and with your support – enable significant new treatment options for dementia.

In 98 percent of cases, drugs are blocked from entering the brain due to the blood-brain barrier, a highly selective semipermeable border of cells, and this has been the major problem for treating people with dementia.

Using technology pioneered by QBI’s Professor Jürgen Götz, Anthony’s team has demonstrated that the pathway which allows the effective delivery of a new drug called ‘Aduhelm’ across the barrier in the invitro model systems may help improve the approaches used for treating the brain.

Associate Professor White is a true visionary in dementia research. After the heartbreak of watching the disease slowly take away his mother, he was determined to make a difference to change the outcomes for millions of other families. We need your help to make this treatment a reality. Please donate.

Dementia is a disease like no other. This degenerative condition affects half a million Australians, and there is no cure and few options to slow its progress.

I have seen first-hand how this disease deprives people of their cognitive functions and most of all, their ability to enjoy their lives with the people they love. Most of us, will not escape this disease, either knowing someone who is living with dementia, supporting a loved one, or being diagnosed with it.

Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is projected to increase to 1.1 million people by 2058.

Dementia impacts our most vulnerable and, while more common in older people, it can also affect the young with people in their 30s also diagnosed.

That is why your support is needed, to help continue the life-changing work being done by researchers such as Associate Professor Anthony White and his team at QIMR Berghofer.

Our researchers are relentless in their commitment to finding better treatments because they know that dementia can happen to any of us at any time of our lives. This trail-blazing research wouldn’t be possible without your generosity.

Together, we can all be part of medical history by donating to support ground breaking work such as Anthony’s dementia research.

We can’t wait another twenty years to find a breakthrough of this kind, please show your support and donate today.

Our vision for the future is to deliver earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment. This relies on the generosity of people like you – who value and believe in medical research.

As Winston Churchill famously said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” By giving to medical research, you are helping change the future for people with dementia and the loved ones they leave behind.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your wonderful support and valuable financial contributions, together, we are able to achieve so much more.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Fabienne Mackay
Director and CEO
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute