A personal inspiration for AML research

A personal inspiration for AML research

Illuminate newsletter index page, June 2019
June 2019

Mr George Kiossoglou and Dr Gabi Brumatti.
(L-R) Consumer buddy Mr George Kiossoglou and cancer
researcher Dr Gabi Brumatti.

Cancer researcher Dr Gabi Brumatti has spent years searching for new treatments for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).  

AML is a devastating blood cancer. It has a heartbreaking survival rate of less than 30 per cent in adults. It is also the second most common leukaemia in children.

But it’s more than just statistics to Gabi. It’s also personal. Gabi has been working with AML patient George Kiossoglou through the Institute’s Consumer Buddy Program.

Difficult treatment

George said his treatment for AML was very difficult.

“I had to have a bone marrow transplant to survive,” George said. “It gave me agonising gut issues and life-threatening inflammation in my kidneys that lasted two years.” He has also suffered post-traumatic stress disorder since going into remission. “The treatment was so gruelling – I was terrified my cancer would return and I’d have to go through it all over again,” George said.

Promising new treatment

Yet for too many, even these painful and exhausting treatments offer little chance of success. Now, Gabi and her team have discovered a promising new treatment for AML. Gabi’s team had a breakthrough when they realised two drugs taken in combination – Birinapant and Zosuquidar – could potentially treat AML with greater success and fewer side effects.

Already this combination is killing AML cells in the laboratory. Now, it’s a case of testing more samples so Gabi can get the conclusive proof she needs to begin trialling this revolutionary new treatment on patients.

As well as becoming great friends, Gabi said George’s experience with AML inspired her research.

“For patients like George, this potential new treatment for AML brings hope but there’s much more work to be done,” Gabi said.

“Please support this important breakthrough in any way you can. For me, for the betterment of science, and – most importantly – for people like my friend George.”

To support the Institute’s research into leukaemia contact Bay Ang on 03 9345 2403 or fundraising@wehi.edu.au

Pairing 'consumers' with researchers

Dr Brumatti is one of the many researchers at the Institute who has a 'consumer buddy.'

Consumers interested in working with medical researchers are invited to participate in our Consumer Buddy Program.   

As a consumer you can: 

  • Work with a researcher by contributing your life experience
  • Assist researchers with communicating their science in plain language
  • Provide insight into how their research can make a difference in the community
  • Become part of the Institute community with invitations to events and seminars

More information

To learn more about joining the Consumer Buddy Program, contact consumer coordinator Katya Gray on 03 9345 2981 or consumers@wehi.edu.au.

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