Celebrating 100 years of discoveries

Celebrating 100 years of discoveries

Centenary celebrations
September 2015

Discovery timeline screenshotWe have been celebrating the institute’s centenary anniversary all year, but what do you know about our history?

The story of CSFs

The story of colony stimulating factors (CSFs) began at the institute in 1966 and the narrative continues today with research expanding into other disease therapies.

It was in 1991 that CSFs were approved for use as a supportive therapy for cancer patients. That approval has led to improvements in the lives of 20 million cancer patients and counting.

Professor Donald Metcalf who led the research team said, “you run into patients in the supermarket who say, ‘oh, I have had CSF treatment.’ That is an uncommon thing to happen in medical research. Most research workers spend their life knowing that their work is not likely to have a direct impact on clinical medicine”.

Early flu vaccines

In 1941, Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet’s team had created two live influenza strains for a nasal spray vaccine to trial in humans. In Burnet’s words, “[the trial’s] objective was to find whether two well-adapted chick embryo strains would immunise as judged first by the production of antibody in the blood”.

The trial was a success. “We had two severe attacks of influenza in subjects who had no antibody to start with,” Burnet reported. “There were two other student volunteers with no antibody; one had a mild attack and an antibody rise, the other a big antibody rise showing that the virus had multiplied freely but no sign or symptom of illness.”

Start exploring and discover more

These are just a snapshot of more than 200 stories on our discovery timeline website, which celebrates our history through stories, photos and videos.

Click through to discovery.wehi.edu.au to discover more.

Super Content: 
Research team in a lab

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