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Perkins must focus on the world's biggest killer
For Perth cardiologist and Perkins Deputy Director, Professor Peter Thompson, heart disease is both personal and professional. His father died from a heart attack on the golf course and his 54 year old father-in-law died driving home from work.
Professor Peter Thompson
As a result Peter is on a mission to establish Western Australia’s first medical research laboratory dedicated to basic research in cardiovascular disease at the Perkins.
Heart disease alone kills one Australian every 12 minutes and affects two out of three families.
“Heart disease and stroke are huge issues but the only way we can make real progress as doctors is by understanding the mechanisms of what causes them in the first place”, said Professor Thompson.
“We shouldn’t be standing back looking helpless, hoping that someone else somewhere else in the world is going to make a discovery for us. We need to put our shoulders to the wheel and contribute,” he says.
In Perth, we have a high standard of clinical cardiology care and clinical research but unlike the other big Australian states there is no laboratory dedicated to finding the cause of heart attacks and strokes.
“We have had some major developments in our understanding about cholesterol during the past decade but occasionally a piece of cholesterol becomes acutely inflamed and enlarged causing a sudden heart attack or stroke and we need to do a lot more work to understand why”, says Professor Thompson.
This disease is a killer for 32% of Australians, we need to be doing our bit here in Perth,” he says.
We need support from the community to fund a cardiovascular researcher with an international reputation to head our work in this critical area, says Professor Thompson.