Together we will beat diseases

11 August 2014

Many of the life-threatening diseases and debilitating conditions of our parents’ day are now little more than faded memories. Take smallpox. As recently as 1967 it affected 15 million people worldwide, with a 30 percent mortality rate and disfiguring scars, but a major vaccination campaign saw smallpox officially eradicated by 1980. We have much for which to thank previous generations of health professionals and researchers.

The insights of today’s medical research promise to lessen the impact of our generation’s health challenges, such as multiple sclerosis, asthma, allergies and cancer. Science is gradually unveiling the molecular workings that underpin disease and offering hope for better treatments.

Medical science and technology are now inseparable. The Malaghan Institute is investing in the best technology to drive medical discoveries from the lab into therapeutic use. Our expertise in this area was recognised at the Wellington Gold Awards in June, where we were delighted to win the Cyber Gold Award for the best use of technology. (We also won the Supreme Gold Award – the very first charity to do so.)  

In this issue of Scope we highlight how this new wave of technology is helping our medical researchers build the future of medicine.

Today whole genomes can be sequenced for a very low cost. Now, for example, instead of viewing melanoma as a single type of cancer, we have the ability to sequence an individual tumour and compare its genome with a database of past specimens. This detailed information offers huge potential for targeted treatments, but also poses new questions and challenges for our researchers. 

Technology, innovation, and most importantly, dedicated people, will continue to fuel our progress in improving human health. You have helped set this vision in motion. Thank you.

 

 This article features in the August 2014 issue of our Scope newsletter (Issue 54).  Download the full newsletter here - 506 KB (PDF)