Director’s message

Every scientist wants their work to have lasting impact.

The most transformational scientific discoveries often start with bold out-of-the-box thinking and behind each of these discoveries is a person or organisation with the foresight and vision to back a promising, but high-risk, idea.

Philanthropic support plays a vital role in enabling our scientists to make medical research discoveries that change and save lives. It allows scientists to follow blue sky ideas with less predictable outcomes than traditional funding streams would allow.

We are very grateful to our many supporters and who play a crucial role in progressing life-saving medical research. Without this support, many scientific discoveries would remain unrealised ideas.

How life-saving ovarian cancer research can progress rapidly with philanthropic support is exemplified on page 5 by Dr Maree Bilandzic’s journey in science.

Dr Bilandzic says, “I owe my career and the fact that I am able to continue my research to our supporters. It was philanthropic support that gave me the chance to establish my own independent stream of research and the means to tackle an ‘old’ problem – treating ovarian cancer – with a fresh approach.”

In February, thanks to generous funding support from the Children’s Cancer Foundation, we launched the truly innovative two-year $1.3 million Hudson Monash Paediatric Precision Medicine Program. The program, a collaboration with our clinical partners at Monash Children’s Hospital, is helping the 950 Australian children diagnosed with cancer each year.

We want to ensure that all Australian children diagnosed with brain cancer and solid tumours benefit from advances in precision medicine treatment.

Importantly, the Children’s Cancer Foundation is supporting five new research staff with expertise in specialist areas including biobanking (creating a ‘living library’ of tumour samples) and organoids (lab-grown mini-tumours), to train and grow our valuable workforce.

On page 6, you can read about the lasting contribution made by the family of medical practitioner, Dr Sue Fowler in establishing the Dr Sue Fowler Scholarship in Ovarian Cancer research in her memory, to support the work of PhD student, Mrs Nazanin Karimnia.

Thank you once again to our supporters and community – without you, our transformative research wouldn’t be possible. I hope that reading about our progress leaves you feeling inspired. Because of you, our work is helping children and families right now.

There is always more work to be done. Our world-leading scientists have so many more promising discoveries to progress, but they need your support to make them happen.

We’ve already accomplished so much with your support in 2018 and I look forward to sharing more of our highlights (and some challenges along the way) with you later in the year.

Professor Elizabeth Hartland
Director and CEO

From the issue…