GMRF donors seek answers to causes of mycobacterial infections

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1 Tribute VOL 11 September 2013 newsletter of the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation GMRF donors seek answers to causes of mycobacterial infections E veryday Aussies love to spend time outdoors. We value healthy lifestyles full of vitality. Until a few years ago, Lynn Unsworth lived such a life. Like many of us, family is Lynn s priority and travel is one of her passions. One of the best things about travel can be returning to tell all your stories chatting, laughing, re-enacting funny mishaps, impersonating each other. Our voices ring high in these moments. people are completely unaffected by exposure to NTM while others become extremely ill. Once this infection gets into the lungs of those people it can be there for life. of M. intracellulare, M. chimaera, may be far more prevalent in water than in soil. It may also cause a different type of disease. Understanding this strain could hold answers to help disease sufferers. The initial symptoms are non-specific and can lead to numerous tests and appointments before a diagnosis is made. Meanwhile people like Lynn have to deal with the frustration of not knowing what is wrong with them. We spoke to Lynn after she returned from a recent holiday and her voice was not like this. Treatment is another hurdle to deal with. Lynn s treatment involves working through a list of strong antibiotics, whilst also continuing to deal with the symptoms. It s hard work. However, not all patients develop chronic infections. Researchers are also working to understand the reasons why some people, like Lynn, are affected so badly. A deeper understanding of the genetics of our immune system could help to find answers. She spoke with a hoarse, frail, rasping tone far beyond her years and had to work hard to keep speaking. She celebrated that she did not cough during our fifteen minute conversation. It was the first time that had happened in weeks. Lynn is suffering from Nontuberculous Mycobacteria, a bacterial infection that has attacked her lungs. NTM can be found just about anywhere from the steam in your shower to the dust in your house. Some We now understand that Lynn has a strain of NTM called Mycobacterium intracellulare, which thrives in warm climates. It s not surprising that, in sunny Queensland, M. intracellulare is the main cause of chronic infection due to NTM. Researchers have found that there are strains which are more likely to cause disease than others. Better understanding of these strains could be the key in fighting NTM. Already research has shown a particular strain Fortunately, Queensland is home to some of the leading medical research into this topic. Dr. Thomson and her team at GMRF are working to answer questions such as: Why does this bug affect some people and not others? Why are some strains of NTM more harmful? Lynn wants to help find answers to the questions. She believes we can help other people affected by this terrible disease. Thanks to a donation of $50k from Lynn, her mother Pearl Logan and their family foundation The Logan Foundation, we are able to fund some of this research. More donors can join Lynn in the fight to understand this disease and to turn beliefs into breakthroughs.

2 Message from the chairman GMRF Chairman Mr Tom Ryan Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation is a conduit through which your belief and hope can be turned into medical advancements. It is your support which turns the wheels of discovery forward, complemented by the dedicated investigation of our doctors and scientists. All who serve on the GMRF board are passionate about directing your support to the most innovative research possible. Research that has the capacity to improve the quality of life for sufferers today, as well as game-changing research that will one day alter the future of medicine. The journey from scientific insight through to new treatments can be a long one, requiring courage and commitment. Along the way though are fantastic developments, which your continued support makes possible. Soon grants will be awarded from the Cyril Gilbert Testimonial Fund, to cancer researchers and physicians at Greenslopes Private Hospital. Still today, far too many stories are prematurely cut short due to the many forms of unforgiving cancer. Your support has allowed another serious GPH honours War Widows Guild members Greenslopes Private Hospital has a strong history with our veterans. The hospital has always provided a special quality of care for serving and discharged military personnel. Through this work, GPH have developed a strong bond with The War Widows Guild of Australia. The Guild was established by Mrs Jessie Mary Vasey in Victoria in 1945, as a group which taught handicrafts to members so that they could augment their inadequate pensions. Over the years, it has developed into an organisation which promotes and provides companionship, counselling and support for its members. Each year, the hospital invites members of the Queensland sub-branches of the Guild to be special guests at a lunch in their honour. The members of the Guild have a chance to socialise and meet other sub-branch members, as well as to be informed of the latest developments within GPH. Dr. Bruce Lawford was the main speaker for this year s event and spoke about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder research, a topic that has encroached on many of these women s lives. They were keen to hear about the developments in this area. At the end of the event, Gynith Whatmough, President of War Widows Guild QLD, presented GMRF with a cheque for $500. Mrs. Jean Pockett also generously donated prizes for a raffle which raised over $200. The lunch is held in honour of the War Widows but our staff members gain something special from this event too. In a time when it can be hard to find good role models, the enduring spirit of these ladies serve as example for us all. It is a truly special day in the GPH calendar. 2 push behind this research that explores for ways to outsmart and eventually master cancer. We are so appreciative for the outpouring of support we received for the GMRF PTSD research project. Aussie Diggers are deeply respected and honored in Australian culture, and far too many of our soldiers suffer as a result of their service. Your involvement has meant we can explore new ways to bring these soldiers home from the war they are fighting inside. There is so much more to do, and so much more that is possible. The life saving breakthroughs of tomorrow are secured by your actions today. On behalf of the GMRF board, thank you for making so much possible - we are truly honored to be working along you. GMRF Fundraiser Maria Noonan accepts a generous donation of $500 from War Widows Guild President Gynith Whatmough Many of the women shared stories of times they had to visit the hospital through personal illness or that of a loved one. Of course, as emphasized by GPH CEO Mark Page, none of us want to see people we care for spending time in hospital. However, we are proud to care for these women whenever needed. As Mrs. Whatmough recapped from the War Widows motto: We all belong to each other. We all need each other. It is in serving each other and in Sacrificing for our common good That we are finding our true life.

3 Remembering Vivian Byatt through research GMRF CEO Miriam Dwyer and Discovery Partners Terry and Camilla Barker DISCOVERY PARTNER I t is human nature to create traditions in remembrance of a loved one. Many families can relate to lighting a candle, playing a song or visiting a special place in the honor of someone they love. Terry and Camilla first represented Vivian at the GMRF annual supporters high tea. The positive impact that their Dad had made through GMRF was immediately made clear. When Vivian sadly passed away, Terry and Camilla decided, This is the thing we would do for Dad, we wanted to carry on the support. When Camilla and Terry Barker lost their father / father in law Vivian Byatt, they made a different kind of commitment to his legacy - to continue on Vivian s dedication to medical research. Camilla comes from a nursing background - she has seen suffering first hand. Being a part of the research that is brightening people s quality of life today is one reason why she is so passionate about medical research. Terry and Camilla share a common vision with our doctors and scientists. As GMRF Discovery Partners, they have made a commitment to strive towards better health for the people that need it most, now and in the future. Vivian showed a concern for the community that shines through in Terry and Camilla. With their commitment to Vivian s legacy they are making game changing research possible. In 1941 at 19 years of age Vivian joined the 5th Light Horse Brigade in Gympie, before he was transferred to the 5th Australian Motor Regiment. During a training accident Vivian lost his right hand; so began his story at GPH, his hospital. The GMRF Discovery Partner program has enabled longterm believers in medical research like Terry and Camilla to make real changes in the lives of people suffering with unforgiving disease. Vivian had a strength of character that his family say was proven through his persistence in learning how to write calligraphy at the Limbless Soldiers Association, his love for gardening and his dedication to building projects. For Vivian, the challenges he faced became opportunities. Instead of focusing on what he had lost, he chose to do even more with his life. If you are interested in learning more about the Discovery Partner Program, please contact or au and we will send you an information pack. 3

4 Community fundraisers fight cancer and raise spirits with variety show Community fundraisers are groups of everyday people who do a tremendous amount of good, while having a lot of fun. These are people who have felt a real urgency to help those who are seriously ill in their community, and are willing to do their part to help. These fundraisers might start small - a raffle, a morning tea or participating in a walk, run or bike ride. Over time, these fundraisers can take on a life of their own, and grow into really wonderful fundraising events. For many years, GMRF has had the dedicated support of some incredible community fundraisers from Toowoomba. Alma Williams, Helen du Frocq and Breanna Hickling are always looking for how they can get their local community involved with fighting cancer. Through incredible hard work (and a lot of fun along the way), these fundraising efforts raised over $4,000 for GMRF cancer research. These funds are what drives forward the process of investigation and discovery, that will one day lead to outsmarting and mastering cancer. Alma says that anyone can (and should) do their part to help those who suffer from cancer. Every little action adds up, and soon the whole community is behind your wonderful idea. Challenge yourself, because you will find that you are capable of really incredible things. GMRF thanks Alma, Helen, Breanna and all of the wonderfully talented performers who donated their time to help others. Already, our Toowoomba fundraisers are thinking about what 2014 could hold for their fundraising! Sadly, Alma Williams lost her dear husband and Helen her father to cancer. Like too many families, they had someone essential taken from them too early. Alma says that while that grief and loss is never far away from your heart, the most important thing to do is to stand up and take action, for everyone else who suffers. For Alma and Helen, this meant raising money for cancer research, with the help of their young friend Breanna. While all their fundraising activities have been successful (and very appreciated by GMRF), there was always one question they would ask themselves at the end; "How can we make this bigger next year?" This goal they set for themselves really blossomed into their most challenging fundraiser yet in They decided to do a variety show at the local community hall, involving all the most talented people they knew, to entertain friends, family and people they had never even met before. The organisation involved in putting on an event like this is no small feat, but when you are driven by the belief that your time and energy is going to help so many people who suffer from a terrible disease like cancer, you will be surprised how much you are capable of. The variety show was a resounding success. A packed community hall was filled with laugher and applause as they were entertained by bush poets, musicians, singers and comedians. Always seeing how they can raise as much as possible for cancer research, our fundraisers also supported the variety show by selling a recipe book filled with family cooking secrets from their loved ones, and by holding a raffle. There was also a raffle, where first prize was an incredible quilt lovingly made and donated by Anne Paroz, who also has experienced the heartache of cancer in her family. Ben Evans, Greenbank RSL Sub Branch Women's Auxiliary 4

5 Breanna Collins Tom Lee Arch Surprise e guest D Breanna Hickling olly Part on Ruby Moore, Gloria Shornley, Pam Hida and Desley Bekker Tom Lee Archer an Bush Poet Peter Riddle 5 d Sharmayne Kre nske

6 Hudsons Greenslopes host Cookies for Cancer in aid of GMRF WWhen someone is ill, care can be shown in many forms. A friendly smile and warm atmosphere should go hand in hand with medical care and scientific research. In Greenslopes Private Hospital, the staff of Hudsons Coffee meet GMRF patients every day. They play their part in caring for them by giving them a place to feel at home in. The connection of the staff makes all the difference in brightening everyone s day. Hudsons Greenslopes owners Adam and Allison De Vries truly care about their customers and see the difference that medical treatment can make. They want to celebrate this difference with you. Hudsons Coffee in GPH will host Cookies for Cancer on Wednesday 23rd October. As part of the event they will have Spotted Cow cookies available for $2 with any hot drink from 9am to 1pm or while stocks last. The full proceeds of these cookies will go to benefit GMRF. On top of that, Adam and Allison have vouched to match what is raised by their customers - dollar for dollar! Another example of you, our donors, coming together to support medical research. Like so many of you, Adam and Allison are believers in medical research. They know that breakthroughs in research happen by people coming together and working towards a better future. We are proud to work with them and you - in a community where this spirit is at the core of our beliefs. It is because of this harmony that we are able to keep exploring new treatments. Ralph's PTSD Update struggling with this internal conflict, Ralph has been receiving treatment at Greenslopes Private Hospital's Keith Payne Unit. While the journey to recovery is a long one, Ralph is already reporting some positive progress. Additionally, Ralph has now become actively involved in helping other PTSD sufferers, through the Young Diggers Association. Ralph, Cathy Sadler and Jedda the wonder dog. Our recent fundraising appeal highlighted the harrowing experience that Australian soldiers and their families must endure because of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This illness is the lasting legacy that many diggers suffer, long after they return home from war. Ralph Sadler and his wife Cathy were courageous enough to share their own journey with this disease. Ralph is a veteran of Iraq 91 and a long term PTSD sufferer. PTSD for him meant being held hostage by his own experiences, and watching the important things in his life slowly fall apart. After spending years 6 GMRF is currently recruiting for one of the most comprehensive PTSD research projects ever attempted, that will assess many aspects of a Veteran s health. This promises to open new doors to better understanding and treatment of this terrible disease, which is now affecting younger veterans from more recent conflicts. If you know a veteran who would be interested in participating in the trial, or if you want more information about how you can help this vital research continue, contact ramsayhealth.com.au

7 My Encounter with da Vinci Entering the reception to meet urology fellow Dr. Stefan Antoniou, I was buzzing with curiosity. You may ask why I, a marketing intern on my first day at work, found herself heading into the depths of Greenslopes Private Hospital s operating theatres. GMRF supporters have recently contributed to the acquisition of GPH s new surgical da Vinci robot. Dr. Antoniou was going to show me the machine that that has revolutionized prostate cancer surgery. Most importantly, I was going to learn about how Dr Antoniou is researching new ways to train surgeons in the art of robotic surgery more efficiently and effectively. When I walked into the theatre, I was immediately taken aback by the pure size of the machine. The ultramodern fourarmed robot sits in the middle of the operating theatre while the surgeon masterfully operates the controls meters away from the patient. Before I knew it, I was sitting at the operating console looking down the 3D lens of da Vinci robot. With feet placed on pedals, much like in a manual car, and hands placed on pincer like controls, I attempted some basic training modules. A poor performance resulted as my nervous hands shook unforgivingly. Eloise Glover, GMRF Intern using the da Vinci An extension of the surgeon s hands, da Vinci mimics even the slightest movements. As a result, it takes extensive training to reach the accuracy required before specialists can perform surgery on a live patient. Currently, surgeons receive training to use the da Vinci later in their careers. Dr Antoniou is exploring whether it is possible to give advanced surgical trainees the chance to master the da Vinci robot much earlier, through a new training curriculum. By performing increasingly complex steps in a modular program, doctors are quickly able to improve their accuracy, reduce surgery time and minimize patient blood loss. Giving doctors these life-saving skills earlier in their career can have a tremendous impact on the treatment of prostate cancer. With the help of GMRF supporters, Dr. Antoniou will soon travel to the international robotics conference in Stockholm to present his research findings. The positive results from this new curriculum could have a similar impact on training programs internationally. Urology Fellow Dr Stefan Antoniou Foundation Contacts GMRF, Greenslopes Private Hospital Newdegate Street, GREENSLOPES QLD General enquiries: (07) E: Clinical trials waiting list: (07) Diggers Dozen Volunteers: (07) Online donations: The GMRF is proudly supported by 7

8 GMRF study gives hope to asbestos victims One of the pillars of Australian life is hard work. Many of our best workers spend years toiling in heavy industry in an effort to build a better future for their loved ones. With modern building regulations and changes to heavy industry, the dangers of asbestos may not seem like an important issue for these everyday heroes. The shocking truth is that Australia is a world leader in deaths related to asbestos exposure. Sadly, these hardworking people usually aren t the types to complain. They will often brush off mild initial symptoms as feeling under the weather. The impact of the exposure may not become obvious until 20 to 50 years later, at which point the disease can be rapidly fatal. A tragic outcome in which disease steals people from the families for whom they worked so hard. One such cancer is malignant pleural mesothelioma, a malignancy strongly linked to asbestos exposure. Currently, mesothelioma can be treated but not cured. GMRF and our donors are seeking to improve treatment outcomes for mesothelioma sufferers. Strengthening the body s immune system may be the key in this fight. With this type of treatment the cancerous cells are combined with cells that stimulate the immune system. However, immunotherapy has not yet proved to be enough to destroy the tumors. A new clinical trial led by Dr. Andrew Nicol and supported by GMRF donors aims to combine this immunotherapy with the standard treatment of chemotherapy. The team will investigate if there is a benefit in administering treatment after chemotherapy, while the system is regenerating. By doing so it may be possible to target the immune system towards anticancer immunity specifically. The therapy may be administered directly after chemotherapy treatments or in the days following the end of the entire chemotherapy treatment program. Dr. Nicol and his team will evaluate these options. The study will be pivotal in evaluating whether further studies are warranted in this area and thereby strengthen the fight against mesothelioma cancer. To: Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation, Newdegate Street, Greenslopes Qld 4120 Title: First name: Last name: Address: Telephone: Postcode: OR I enclose a cheque payable to the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation Please debit my VISA MasterCard Card no: Expiry: / / CVV no: I would like to make a donation today of A gift of my choice $... - thank you! $20 $40 $70 $120 Name on card: Signature: Please send me a form to make a regular gift Please send me further information about leaving a bequest to the Foundation All donations of $2 or more are tax deductible. To donate online please visit or call (07) today to give your donation by credit card. Thank You! 8 TRIBMAR13

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