Our clinical discoveries

The institute has a strong history of translating laboratory-based discoveries into better treatments for human disease.

Our researchers have been integral in developing a number of treatments currently used for improving health and wellbeing, based on fundamental research done at the institute.

Discoveries that are now helping patients

For more than 97 years, our researchers have been making discoveries that have changed the lives of patients around the world.

Some major highlights include:

  • discovering the hormones that regulate white blood cells, called colony stimulating factors (CSFs), leading to new treatments that have benefited more than 20 million cancer patients and revolutionised blood stem cell transplantation.
  • identifying the GM-CSF (granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor) gene, which has now been used as a key component in DNA cancer vaccines.
  • developing the procedure still used today to produce influenza virus for making flu vaccines.
  • identifying autoimmune disease and treatment using immunosuppressive drugs, which is still the gold standard used today.
  • research into snakes and snake venoms that led to new anti-venoms effective for tiger snake and copperhead snake bites.

Clinical trials now underway based on institute discoveries

There are currently more than 80 national and international clinical trials originating from research undertaken at the institute, including investigations into:

  • a new class of anti-cancer agents, called BH3-mimetics, that are currently in trials for treating chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and lung cancer;
  • multi-medication combinations in anti-cancer therapies that target solid tumor blood vessels;
  • a malaria vaccine using genetically modified, whole parasites;
  • a malaria vaccine using a combination of parasite proteins discovered at the institute;
  • an intranasal insulin vaccine to help prevent type 1 diabetes; and
  • a vaccine for coeliac disease that desensitises the body to gluten.

More information about clinical trials.