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Hawaiianpartnershipboosts cancerresearch Magazine of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research Issue32015 Intellectualdisabilities underthemicroscope MACARidetoConquer Cancer success Walkforcancer research Melanomatrial getsresults 2 PERKINS Issue 3 FromtheDirector Welcome to the nal issue of Perkins magazine for 2015. Weve just held our fourth Ride to Conquer Cancer in Perth and as youll read it was a fantastic event raising 4.5 million for our medical research. Team MACA was particularly impressive. Their red and white jerseys stood out in the crowd and their efforts to raise 1.2 million were phenomenal. The funds raised are being used in our laboratories to discover new ways to tackle cancer. Several cancer research programs which include breast prostate melanoma colon head and neck liver and leukaemia are underway at the Perkins as a result of Ride-funded dollars. The purpose of these programs is to test new ideas for tackling cancer promote new collaborations between cancer research teams and increase cross-fertilisation of ideas. In this edition we are also proud to feature our new partnership with WA property company Hawaiian which will present The Weekend to End Womens Cancers in 2016. We urge you to register now for this 60 kilometre walk which will be held on 2-3 April next year as its another vital fundraiser for our work in cancer research. You can read more about our progress in breast cancer research on pages 4 and 5. Importantly Id like to invite you to our Wesfarmers Harry Perkins Oration on Friday 20 November. Please come and visit us at the Institute and listen to world renowned Perth Neurologist Professor Graeme Hankey. ThisyeartheOrationwillfocusonstrokewhichisamajorhealth concern.Itsagreatopportunitytolearnmoreaboutitscausesandto ndouthowitcanbepreventedandtreated.Detailsareonpage9. Finally I wish you a safe and healthy end to 2015. As we approach a new year well be continuing our tireless work to nd ways to alleviate the serious diseases affecting our community. Professor Peter Leedman Director Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research Topteams Topfundraisers GRANTMENHENNETT 43357.00 MARTINHOWLEY 39402.20 DAVIDEDWARDS 32540.00 PETERLEEDMAN 23550.00 ROSSWILLIAMS 20025.00 DAVEHARWOOD 15378.00 DEREKENGLISH 15071.50 DEREKMILFORD 13128.00 ANDREWHOLBEN 13013.15 SUZANNEPHILPOT 12700.00 TEAMMACA 1265767.44 TEAMWOODSIDE 224999.17 TCDGROUPOFCOMPANIES 110973.21 TEAMILUKA 110622.15 RULLOGROUP 95450.32 TEAMPERKINS 92762.45 MAMILS-MIDDLEAGEDMENINLYCRA 64960.15 FTDADS 55079.09 SOCKITTOSARCOMA 53892.45 CRACKCYCLING 51246.24 Issue 3 PERKINS 3 MACARidetoConquerCancersuccess The fourth ride to Conquer Cancer raised an amazing 4.5 million dollars thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of 1032 riders. PerkinsDirectorProfessorPeterLeedmansaidthatthe hugesumdeedtheeconomicdownturnandwasa testamenttotheimportanceofcancerresearch. The2015Ridewasagreatcombinationofkind weatherinspirationalstoriesandalotofriderswho wereelatedatmakingitoverthenishlineProfessor Leedmansaid.Iwasoneofthem TeamMACAfundraisedanincredible1.2millionand thetopindividualfundraiserGrantMenhennettraised over43000forcancerresearchattheHarryPerkins InstituteofMedicalResearch. TheKomatsuMajorAccountManagersaidhis involvementhadinspiredothermembersofhisfamily tobecomeinvolvedwiththeRideandithadbecome hisfamilysmainfundraisingfocus. The2015ridewasthersttimethatmydaughter Cherieandson-in-lawRichardjoinedmeforthisgreat causeGrantsaid. Grantsaidhewasgratefultothemanagementand staffofKomatsuAustraliafortheirsupportoftheevent aswellashisbusinessassociatessuchaslong-time friendandfellowriderGeoffBakerMACAsDirectorof OperationswhointroducedGranttotheRide. Weallrideasoneforthiscausehesaid. .. and theyre off 1032 riders.Top fundraiser Grant Menhennett Team MACA Mymain motivationfor fundraisingforthe Perkinsishowcancer touchessomanypeople ofallagesandtheneed forresearchthatmakes arealdifferenceto peopleslives. Grant Menhennett 4 PERKINS Issue 3 PerkinsandHawaiianformpartnership toendwomenscancers PerkinsandHawaiianformpartnership toendwomenscancers PerkinsandHawaiianformpartnership toendwomenscancers PerkinsandHawaiianformpartnership toendwomenscancers PerkinsandHawaiianformpartnership toendwomenscancers PerkinsandHawaiianformpartnership toendwomenscancers PerkinsandHawaiianformpartnership toendwomenscancers PerkinsandHawaiianformpartnership toendwomenscancers PerkinsandHawaiianformpartnership toendwomenscancers PerkinsandHawaiianformpartnership Were pleased to announce that Western Australian property company Hawaiian has partnered with the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research to present The Weekend to End Womens Cancers in 2016. Hawaiian Director Kate OHara says Hawaiians initial interest in supporting the Perkins was inspired by staff who had experienced the impact and trauma of womens cancer. She says it is exciting to be partners with an organisation that is not only a leader in its eld but also shares Hawaiians passion about making a difference in the community. The potential number of lives that the research led by the Perkins could save in our communities is immense and we want to help them achieve this. By being able to spread their message we hope to see more people walking. This in turn means more funding to continue and extend their life changing research Ms OHara says. Perkins Director Professor Peter Leedman says theres a great synergy between the values of the Perkins and Hawaiian. We are both committed to helping people and to giving back to the community. Register now for The Weekend to End Womens Cancers beneting Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research presented by Hawaiian. The 60 kilometre walk will take place over the weekend of 2 and 3 April in 2016 and it will be an experience youll never forget. Register now for the Perth walk at 1300 99 WALK 9255 Benefiting The Weekend to End Womens Cancers Presents OF MEDICAL RESEARCH HARRY PERKINS INSTITUTE Professor Peter Leedman with Hawaiian Director Kate OHara Issue 3 PERKINS 5 Meettheresearchersworking onwomenscancers Meettheresearchersworking Dr Benjamin Garcia-Bloj has moved half way around the world to work with the team that is focused on nding the causes of and more effective treatments for breast cancer at the Perkins. He had completed his studies to become a doctor in Chile when he realised that hed make a bigger impact if he concentrated on research rather than working with patients as a doctor. I wanted to be on the team that was providing solutions he says. Creating new treatments takes a lot of years of medical research but if you succeed you can change the lives of millions of people. Dr Garcia-Bloj says the drawback is that research takes a long time to move from a discovery at the laboratory bench top to improved cancer treatments. Fortunately Im very patient he says. Im motivated by the prevalence of breast cancer which is the most common cancer killer of women in Australia. When one person gets cancer it has a huge impact on the whole family. ItwashardtoleavefamilybehindinChilehesays. But each time we get a good result in the laboratory its worth it because we are a step closer in making a big difference in treating breast cancer. Dr Garcia-Bloj is using a technology known as CRISPR to modify how cancer genes operate. The aim is to reactivate the defences within cells that become dormant during cancer so they can then prevent tumours from growing. Perkins Director Professor Peter Leedman said it was exciting that the reputation of the Perkins was attracting top doctors and researchers from around the world to make advances in the treatment of womens cancers in Perth. Dr Benjamin Garcia-Blog The discovery of a new gene has allowed the Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory at the Perkins to conduct cutting-edge research into a sub-type of the cancer known as Hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Associate Professor Pilar Blancafort Dr Benjamin Garcia-Bloj Currentlythemostcommontreatmentforwomenwiththis cancerishormonetherapyusingdrugssuchasTamoxifen whichlowertheamountofoestrogeninthebody.The treatmentisverysuccessfulforthemajorityofpatients. HoweverLaboratoryHeadAssociateProfessorPilar Blancafortsaysthatin15ofcasesanti-oestrogendrugs donthelpwomenwiththistypeofbreastcancer. Sadlysomewomen gothroughthe treatmentanditsside effectsonlytohave tumoursreturnin5to10 yearsshesays.Ourresearchcanhelpwomenndoutif theytintothisgroup. Itappearsthatthisgeneinconjunctionwithothersmight actuallycreatearesistancetoanti-oestrogendrugsshe says. Unfortunatelythismeansthatcurrenttreatments maketheircancercellsmultiplyevenfaster. AssociateProfessorBlancafortsaysherteamisnowlooking atalternativetreatmentsforhormone-receptor-positive breastcancerandagoodanalogyfortheirapproachisthe engineofacar. IfnormalcellsneedaV6enginetoenergisethemthen cancercellsneedaV8totakeoffshesays.Werelooking atwaystoshutdownthesubstanceswhichareproduced duringmetabolismsotheycantgivesomuchfuelto tumours. Theresearchalsohasimplicationsforovariancancer. Associate Professor Blancafortsteamhas madeimpressiveprogress intheirinvestigation ofapreviously unknowngenethat isincreasedin certainpatients. Associate Professor Pilar Blancafort 6 PERKINS Issue 3 Laurasaiditwasalmostayeartothedayaftershehadaradical hysterectomyattheageof32asaresultofcervicalcancer. Iwasataloss.CancertakesalotoutofyouandIhadnt regainedmysenseofpurposeshesaid.Idecidedtodothe walkformyselfbutalsotosupportcancerresearchsothat onedaywomenwonthavetogothroughthesestruggles. Ahealth-conscioustnessinstructorbeforeherillnessLaura startedwalkingtoandfromworkashertrainingenteredthe eventonherownandnishedthetwodayjourneyfeeling amazing. Imetsomewonderfulwomensomesurvivorssomecarers somefamily-everyonehadastoryandeveryone hadareason.Thatwasmyrstwalk.Nowweveallteamedup andbecomePinkPiratesoftheCurebbean. When a gust of wind blew a promotional yer for the Weekend into Laura McNeills face she decided it was a sign that she should support cancer research at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research by taking part in the event. Friendships blossomed during walk L to R Lee Collins Laura McNeill Valerie Dixon and Michelle Kennedy Be part of the journey by registering now for the Weekend to End Womens Cancer presented by Hawaiian. Visit or phone 1300 99 WALK 9255 to nd out more about this life-changing experience. We think that women who go through treatment for cancer are incredibly courageous said Dr Kristen Nowak who is a member of Team Purple Hearts as well as a researcher at the Perkins. Kristen was inspired by her good friend Louise who tragically passed away from breast cancer earlier this year at the age of 42 leaving behind her husband Brett and two young children. One of the teams in the Hawaiian Presents The Weekend to End Womens Cancers is Team Purple Hearts which honours those women who are affected by cancer and especially those who made the ultimate sacrice. Walk inspired by Louises courage Louise with her daughter Katia As much as its important to support family and friends with cancer as best we can the only way to conquer cancer in the future is through medical research Kristen says. We need more effective drugs with fewer side effects. Team Purple Hearts is having a Ball to fundraise for the event. Tickets are on sale now at Benefiting The Weekend to End Womens Cancers Presents OF MEDICAL RESEARCH HARRY PERKINS INSTITUTE A highlight of the Weekend to End Womens Cancers presented by Hawaiian is the opportunity to walk alongside some inspirational women and hear their stories Issue 3 PERKINS 7 Associate Professor Julian Heng A team of researchers from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research headed by Associate Professor Julian Heng has been awarded a grant to investigate the role of genetic mutations in childhood brain disorders. Professor Peter Thompson AM Deputy Director of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research has won the 2015 Minister for Health Award. The research project will address how such mutations disrupt normal foetal brain development and lead to intellectual disability. In Australia the total cost of intellectual disability is estimated to exceed 14 billion annually with around three per cent of the population affected. Associate Professor Heng believes that there is a need to establish how genetic mutations disrupt the assembly of neural circuits in the human brain leading to intellectual disability. We have already identied a gene known as RP58 as an important factor for healthy brain development and we have evidence that mutations to this gene cause intellectual disability Associate Professor Heng said. Associate Professor Heng said their initial studies had found that the gene RP58 worked as an off-switch to control the production placement and connectivity of neurons in the brain. PresentedaspartoftheWAHealthExcellenceAwardstheprizerecognises individualswhodemonstrateacommitmenttoachievingWAHealthsvisionof HealthierlongerandbetterqualitylivesforallWesternAustralians. HealthMinisterKimHamessaidthroughouthis50-yearcareerProfessorThompson hadmadeanextraordinarycontributionintheareasofclinicalcareclinicalresearch ruralmedicinementorshipclinicalleadershipandprofessionaldevelopment. ProfessorThompsonisanoutstandingrecipientoftheawardwhohashadamajor impactonpatientcareandhealthcareservicesduringhismanyyearsofserviceasa practisingcardiologistandadministratorDrHamessaid. Heispassionateaboutresearchandhasbeenactivelyinvolvedinmanyprofessional andinternationalorganisationsinhiseldtohelpimprovehealthcarenotjustfor WestAustraliansbutforthoseexperiencingheartconditionsworldwide. Professor Thompson has been the Deputy Director of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research since 2004. He is playing the leading role in establishing what will be WAs only discovery research Chair in Cardiovascular Disease. He is also Director of Research Development at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital a Director of the Heart Research Institute a partner of Heart Care WA and established the Coronary Care Unit at St John of God Hospital Bunbury. Intellectual disabilities under the microscope Leading cardiologist wins health award The long-term goal of the investigation is to generate new ways to predict and manage intellectual disability. If we understand the disease process for RP58 we can better predict how our genes control brain circuit formation and in the future we could use this information to boost mental function and maintain mental health Associate Professor Heng said. Its hoped the research can also be applied to other brain disorders. Professor Peter Thompson receives his award from Health Minister Dr Kim Hames. 8 PERKINS Issue 3 Melanomapatients triumph HaleSchoolsupportsmelanomaresearch Mr de Haas says many of the melanomas throughout his body have simply dissolved since he started on the innovative clinical trial at Sir Charles Gairdner hospital in Nedlands. I rst found out I had melanoma in 2007 when a chiropractor noticed a suspicious lesion on my back Mr de Haas says. Since then melanomas have appeared in my brain lungs liver spine adrenal gland and more. I felt very privileged to be part of the Keytruda trial which helps the immune system work as it should. I responded almost immediately to treatment with tumours shrinking or disappearing altogether he says. Keytruda is denitely working but to celebrate now would be like thinking youve won a football grand nal after the rst quarter. Its a good start. Mr de Haas says the treatment was very expensive 150000 per year but now that its been listed on the Pharmaceutical Benets Scheme the breakthrough drug will be more widely accessible to all melanoma patients. Use of Keytruda will be discussed in more detail at a free melanoma community forum at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research on Thursday 3 December. The audience will have the opportunity for a question and answer session with melanoma experts. Visit for more information. Martin de Haas calls the new melanoma treatment Keytruda a triumph of science and the 63 year old should know. More than 100 Hale school boys and community members learnt about melanoma while raising important funds for the Kirkbride Melanoma Centre by participating in the City to Surf on 30 August. Melanoma patient Martin de Haas Hale Junior School participant Chris Engelhard The schools goal was to raise awareness of the deadly skin cancer particularly given the risks their boys might face in the future. Melanoma is the most common cancer in young Australians. In 2012 1100 Western Australians aged 15 to 39 were diagnosed with melanoma and one in six of them mostly young men died. We were glad to do our part for melanoma research said Tim Simpson Deputy Head of Hale Junior School. As a result of this school activity we learnt that many Hale community members have had melanoma scares or surgery. We all have to be aware of therisksandbeskinsafe. ScottKirkbrideinwhosehonourtheKirkbrideCentrewasestablished wasanoldboyofHaleSchool. Scottlosthisbattlewithmelanoma whenhewasjust27yearsold. TheKirkbrideCentreundertakes researchtoprovideimproveddiagnosisandtreatmentofmelanoma. 2015 Wesfarmers Harry Perkins Oration Orator Professor Graeme J Hankey MBBS MD FRCP FRCPE FRACP FAHA Professor of Neurology at The University of Western Australia Neurologist at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital McCusker Auditorium Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research QEII Medical Centre 6 Verdun Street Nedlands RSVP by 12 November to or 08 6151 0700 Stroke challenging a looming epidemic This lecture for the general public will explain the concept of stroke and its causes illustrate its impact and how it can be prevented and treated and discuss future directions in research and its implementation into practice. Friday 20 November 4.00-5.00pm followed by refreshments 20152015201520152015 WesfarmersWesfarmersWesfarmersWesfarmersWesfarmersWesfarmersWesfarmersWesfarmersWesfarmersWesfarmers Harry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry Perkins 2015 Wesfarmers Harry Perkins OrationOrationOrationOrationOrationOrationOrationOrationOrationOrationOrationOrationOrationOrationOrationOration Harry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry PerkinsHarry Perkins Oration 10 PERKINS Issue 3 Two talented young Perkins researchers say they feel privileged to have received support through scholarships provided by Colliers International and Axis Financial Group. NewdiscoveryinMotor NeuroneDisease Corporatesector supportstalented scholars NewdiscoveryinMotorNewdiscoveryinMotor NeuroneDisease NewdiscoveryinMotor NeuroneDisease NewdiscoveryinMotor DrArchaFoxwhodiscoveredatinycellular structurewithinthenucleusofcellsknownasthe paraspecklehasjustcompletednewresearchintothe neurodegenerativediseasealsoknownasALSwhich iscurrentlyincurable. OneofthebigmysteriesinMNDiswedontactually understandwhatcausesitDrFoxsays.Itmainly affectsadults and only a small number of cases have a family history of the disease. Weve found that while lots of different molecules are involved in MND many of them come together within paraspeckles. Paraspeckles are formed by accumulations of proteins and are important in human cells because they help the cells to cope with stress. However when the same proteins accumulateinthe wrongplacesthiscausesdiseasesincludingMNDand otherlethalconditions. Thenewresearchprovideshopeforpeoplewith neurodegenerativediseasesandtheirfamilies. Each day in Australia two people die from MND Each day in Australia two people are diagnosed with MND People with MND progressively lose the use of their limbs and ability to speak swallow and breathe whilst their mind and senses usually remain intact Average life expectancy is 27 months An estimated 1900 people have MND in Australia Colliers International WA Chief Executive Imran Mohiuddin says that Perkins is an enormous asset for Western Australia. Having this expertise in the QEII medical precinct means we can attract the brightest young people to study in specialised elds he says. Colliers International is supporting Chris Wallis who works within the Synthetic Biology and Drug Discovery laboratory at the Perkins. Axis Financial Group is supporting a scholarship for Leukaemia researcher Joanne Van Vurren. Chief Executive Officer John Exton says Axis wants to support research that will make a difference. We believe that the work at Perkins is cutting edge and may provide the next big breakthrough that will have a huge impact on the health of our communities he says. We also want to help young researchers and provide a benet to their lives by allowing them to focus on their studies. Axis Financial Group CEO John Exton with PhD student Joanne Van Vuuren Chris Wallis receives his scholarship from Colliers International Associate Director Joanna Davey Source mnd Australia WhatisMND Research atthePerkinsis continuingtomake inroadsintothe understandingof MotorNeurone Disease. Issue 3 PERKINS 11 The Perkins Laboratory Head of Liver Disease and Carcinogenesis Professor George Yeoh has been selected to help create strategies which will help to get better outcomes for Australian cancer patients. Did you know that there are more than 1800 new cases of dementia diagnosed each week in Australia A leading researcher at the Perkins Associate Professor Kevin Peger has received two awards over the past few weeks in recognition of his work on how hormones and medicines act in the body. ProfessorYeohsayshesproudtohavebeenappointedasaWestern AustralianrepresentativeontheCancerAustraliaAdvisoryCouncil whichmeetsinCanberra. HesaysitsalsogoodtohavearepresentativefromtheHarryPerkins InstituteofMedicalResearchonthecouncilandhelooksforwardto makingadifferencebyadvisingoncancerresearchcontrolandcare. ProfessorYeohwasappointedtothepositionbytheMinisterforHealth theHon.SussanLeyforaperiodofthreeyears. Its devastating news for families and with the number of Australians with dementia predicted to grow to more than one million people in the next 40 years researchers at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research are tackling the disease. Now 43 million in Federal government funding has been shared among researchers. At the Perkins a fellowship was awarded to Dr Sarah Rea from the laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology Cellular Regulation. Dr Reas project will focus on how gene mutations in self-degrading cell receptors cause dementia. It is hoped her research will provide new insights into common and underlying disease mechanisms that will lead to the development of future treatments. He was presented with an award from the National Health and Medical Research Council NHMRC for having the top ranked fellowship application in his category. The outstanding researcher who has been praised for making his mark on Australian and global science has also been honoured with the Vice Chancellor of UWAs Mid-Career Research Award. Associate Professor Pegers research focuses on receptors throughout the body that are the target of many currently used medicines. Many treatments result in unexplained effects due to a lack of understanding of their mechanism of action at the molecular level. Associate Professor Peger will generate new knowledge about these mechanisms with a view to improving the effectiveness of current and future medicines and reducing their side effects. Strategic role for Perkins Professor Fightingdementia Well-deservedrecognition Professor George Yeoh Associate Professor Kevin Peger 12 PERKINS Issue 3 Phone 61 8 6151 0700 Fax 61 8 6151 0701 Perth Campus QQ Block QEII Medical Centre 6 Verdun St Nedlands WA 6009 PO Box 7214 Shenton Park Western Australia 6008 Credit card payment - please debit my Amex Security No CVV Code No Card No Card Holders Name Signature Expiry Date I would like to make a donation today of Cheque or money orders - Please make payable to the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and post to the PO Box address listed above. To see our Privacy Policy please go to 1. click Donate Here 2. Phone 08 6151 0720 3. Post this form to the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research PO Box 7214 Shenton Park WA 6008 or fax to 08 6151 0701 Please send me information about helping the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research through my will. Donations over 2 are tax deductible and a receipt will be issued. Title First name Surname Company Address Suburb Postcode Phone Mobile Email YES I would like to donate to the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and make a difference Thereare3waysyoucandonateAllcontributionstothePerkinsgodirectlytoadvancing medicalresearch.Ifyouwouldliketosupportaspecicarea ofresearchpleasetellus. CHEQUECREDITCARD Please tick the box if you do not wish to receive information from us. AboutthePerkins The Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research is Western Australias premier adult medical research institute with strong collaborative links to life-saving research around the world. Our researchers work on many types of cancer heart disease and stroke as well as other serious diseases. Due to the Perkins close links with major teaching hospitals we are uniquely positioned to fast track new ways to diagnose diseases leading to a quicker response time and more individualised treatments for patients. We are named after our inaugural Chairman the inspirational Harry Perkins AO. Our logo is based on his signature. Connect with us at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research We are very grateful to all our supporters whose contributions make our medical research possible. Major supporters McCusker Charitable Foundation