From the director

From the director

Illuminate newsletter index page, December 2018
December 2018
2018 has been an exceptionally successful year, and I reflected on many of the Institute’s achievements at our annual Celebrating Discoveries event last month. These achievements would not happen without the incredible support from our community.

For many of our donors, the decision to donate to the Institute is motivated by the very personal experience of a disease impacting them or someone close to them. We are acutely aware of the trust you place in us to make the very best use of your money and I hope that in the past year, we have given you many opportunities to hear about our discoveries and given you hope for the future.

Advancing translational research

In this edition of Illuminate, you can read about two important clinical trials led by our clinician-scientists. One investigates whether a simple blood test could guide the treatment for people with certain cancers – and potentially allow some low-risk patients to avoid chemotherapy and its side effects.

The other trial is an exciting advance in our coeliac disease research program: building on discoveries made at the Institute over the last 10 years, phase II clinical trials are now underway for a ‘vaccine’ that switches off the harmful immune reaction to gluten that causes coeliac disease.

The Institute’s strengths in translational research were also reflected this year by the election of two of our leading scientists, Professor Gabrielle Belz and Professor Marc Pellegrini, to the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. These researchers have each made important contributions to understanding the interplay between our immune system and invading pathogens, and their recognition is well-deserved.

Developing the medicines of the future

Our researchers are focused on improving health, and developing new medicines is a key step to translating our research into clinical benefits. For many decades our researchers have successfully unravelled the complex processes driving diseases, and we have strengthened our links to the clinic.

This year we were able to invest philanthropic donations, plus income from the sale of royalties in the anti-cancer medicine venetoclax, in a new world-class Drug Discovery Centre. This centre is already carrying our basic research discoveries through to potential new medicines that treat disease. We plan to amplify our efforts in drug discovery, to benefit more patients in Australia and around the world.

Thank you for your support of our research in 2018. I wish you all the best for a happy and safe holiday season, and look forward to reconnecting with you in the coming year.

Super Content: 
Doug Hilton in his office

Professor Doug Hilton has been named as one of 20 inaugural ‘Male Champions of Change’ by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, for his work to improve the representation of women at senior levels of medical research.