The Director of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Professor Peter Leedman, commended today’s announcement, made as part of the election campaign by Labor, to establish a means of long term, secure funding to drive medical research and innovation.
“We welcome all support for long term funding for medical research. Developing cures to disease is far more cost effective than continuing to treat ill patients,” he said.
If elected, Opposition Leader, the Hon Mark McGowan vowed to establish a Future Health Research and Innovation (HRI) fund, which would operate as a $1.1 billion funding pot, with annual interest payments to the tune of $35 million used to support innovative health and medical research projects.
Professor Leedman described the plan as transformative for Western Australia.
“This funding plan is inspirational because it’s very rare to hear politicians so passionate about community health and medical research and the link between the two,” Professor Leedman said.
“It’s transformational because we will be able to retain and recruit the very best people in the world and that’s a goal for Western Australia. We’ve got fabulous people doing health and medical research but we want to lift the bar.
“This is a long term goal that goes well beyond the term of one or two governments. It’s a 10 or 15 year goal for the community of Western Australia and when you hear politicians talking like that it’s refreshing and its inspirational for people like me.”
The plan will provide a reliable source of funding to support local research teams, high quality infrastructure and world-first clinical studies for patients to improve the future health of all West Australians.
Mr McGowan also announced a cancer research strategy to improve cancer research and treatment over the next decade.
Professor Leedman emphasised the importance of a long term strategic approach to cancer research in Western Australia.
“A major focus of the Perkins is improving treatment options for those facing cancer, in particular, our researchers are investigating new ways to treat cancers with a poor prognosis,” Professor Leedman said.
By focusing on cutting edge research into cancer, Western Australia will be able to attract and retain top cancer specialists to ensure that WA cancer patients get access to the best, cutting edge treatments available.