A major upgrade for independent medical research in New Zealand

19 June 2014, Asthma, Cancer, Gut Health

Wellington’s Malaghan Institute of Medical Research has announced a $28 million boost for cancer, asthma and inflammatory disease research in New Zealand.

Cancer and asthma are some of New Zealand’s most devastating diseases. The Malaghan Institute has been recognised as a key independent organisation to meet this challenge through the recent granting of $28 million by the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC). The funding, which will be provided over the next seven years, secures a solid future for the improvement in health for all New Zealanders.

The Malaghan Institute’s Director Professor Graham Le Gros says: “We are humbled by the responsibility and trust placed with us. People of all ages in New Zealand are suffering and we need to find better, cheaper more effective ways to treat them.

“This HRC funding establishes the Malaghan Institute as New Zealands premier independent medical research centre for not only finding better treatments for diseases like cancer and asthma, but also many others that have an immunological, infectious or inflammatory basis. This investment by the Government’s HRC will secure the capability we have developed for the benefit of New Zealand while still allowing us to retain the independent spirit and culture and the philanthropic support that has been the source of our discoveries”

The HRC extensively reviewed the core research programmes headed by Professors Franca Ronchese, Ian Hermans, Graham Le Gros and Mike Berridge and gave them the stamp of approval as the most likely to produce breakthrough results in the future.

“This funding gives us the wherewithal to translate the many recent exciting discoveries into practical solutions for patients.  The new funding also becomes the platform for our up and coming investigators like Dr Elizabeth Forbes-Blom and Dr Robert Weinkov whose youth and vigour will push us to think more boldly.”

Professor Le Gros says: “When combined with philanthropic support from the community, the Malaghan Institute now has the capability to become one of New Zealands enduring and productive assets for a better future.

"It's really exciting. Our understanding of how to use our immune system to treat diseases like cancer has been transformed over the last few years and this funding will place us at the heart of future advances in other disease areas. We will be able to support and build new collaborations throughout New Zealand and across the world to ensure we produce the cutting edge research discoveries New Zealanders need."

The Institute has been operating for over 40 years in Wellington and brings together over 70 medical researchers from across a wide range of fields, including immunologists, cell biologists and bioinformatic specialists. It is New Zealand’s largest and oldest independent biomedical research organisation.

“As an independent organisation the Malaghan Institute relies on continuing philanthropic support to carry out its work. This new funding provides a secure platform for all our donors and supporters ensuring that their generous gifts are now underpinned by credible capability through the HRC grants.”

  

Recent funding awards

Capability Funding:

Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) announced $14.2 million of funding with provision for a further $11 million after review, providing long-term underpinning funding for our research goals in cancer, allergic diseases and gut health.

 

2014 Funding round of the Health Research Council of New Zealand:

Associate Professor Ian Hermans

Vaccination and immunomodulation: Creating effective therapy for cancer

36 months, $1,190,900

Associate Professor Ian Hermans

Synthetic vaccines that exploit the innate immune response

36 months, $1,192,956

Professor Franca Ronchese

Malaghan Institute of Medical Research

Monocyte-derived dendritic cells for tumour immunotherapy

36 months, $1,199,993