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Malaghan Institute annual appeal 2019

11 February 2019

Thank you for supporting our work to fundamentally change how we prevent, treat and cure disease by harnessing the power of the immune system.

As we enter a new year, momentum builds. In 2019 we will be undertaking New Zealand’s first CAR T-cell clinical trial, with the ultimate aim of accelerating the availability of this ground-breaking cancer treatment in New Zealand.

The expertise and ability to investigate this type of treatment has not come about overnight. From our first cancer vaccine trial in 1998, using a patient’s own immune cells to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, to our work trialling a novel vaccine design to stimulate an immune response to melanoma, the Malaghan Institute has led the way in bringing cancer immunotherapy to New Zealand, where it is now a standard of care in hospitals. And across the areas of cancer, gut health and infectious diseases, we have successfully performed seven major phase I, II and III clinical trials and studies, contributing to global knowledge that is improving human health.

With your backing, we have built the capability to translate our scientific discoveries and make a real difference for the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders.

2018 at a glance

  • We published 30 papers in scientific journals including Nature Comms, Cell Metabolism and PloS Pathogens.
  • We secured three patents which will help develop various clinical programmes.
  • We wrapped up our Phase IImelanoma vaccine trial and will publish results in 2019.
  • We developed the technological capability for delivering CAR T-cell therapy in New Zealand for the treatment of blood cancers.
  • Our Biomedical Research Unit was awarded Victoria University’s 3Rs award for its work towards replacement, reduction, refinement in animal care and welfare.
  • Our technology suite acquired three spectral cytometers, enabling a paradigm shift in how we identify and analyse the complex changes in a person’s immune system.
  • Professor Franca Ronchese gave the prestigious Burnet Oration at the Australasian Society for Immunology conference in Perth.
  • Head of Research Technology Kylie Price was the first New Zealanderelected to the council of the International Society for Advancement of Cytometry and was named a finalist in the New Zealand Woman of Influence Awards 2018.
  • PhD student Kerry Hilligan took up a two-year position at the National Institutes of Health, Washington DC.
  • PhD student and Maurice Capstick award recipient Joshua Lange completed an internship at the Weatherall Institute in Oxford, United Kingdom.

How we’re positioned for 2019 and beyond

As we enter a new year, we are in a strong position thanks to your ongoing support.

Our recently updated strategic plan sets us on an ambitious path for growth with a vision of being a world-class medical research institute and leader in immunology and immunotherapy. With this comes the need for greater resourcing of our current research programmes and the likely need to establish additional research programmes to meet the everchanging landscape of biomedical research.

The Institute now has more than 100 dedicated scientists and support staff who are highly committed to research projects aimed at making breakthroughs in cancer, asthma and allergy, infectious diseases, gut and brain health. We have strong support for our ground-breaking research from leading scientists at Oxford University, Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine, National Institutes of Health, the Weizmann Institute of Science and Harvard Medical School.

We are planning clinical trials in the areas of cancer, allergic and infectious diseases, and thanks to the Hugh Green Foundation, will be expanding our technology hub, providing unprecedented scientific capabilities to fuel our research and discovery.

You are vital to our long-term success

In the past 12 months, the Malaghan Institute has received unprecedented support from all corners. Philanthropy gives us the freedom and drive to make ground-breaking discoveries for a healthier New Zealand. And it provides the foundation to do so much more.

The huge potential of our immunotherapy research programmes, underpinned by our world class technology and infrastructure, means your support has never been so important.

As an independent charity and proudly New Zealand organisation, the backing we receive from the community – both financial and non-financial – is critical. We are owned by New Zealand and we are ambitious for our shared future.

This year, I ask for your continued backing. I would also ask that if you know someone who is interested in supporting medical research, or who has a personal connection to cancer, asthma, allergy, infectious diseases, gut or brain health, please tell them about our work, and encourage them to be part of our journey.

Once again thank you again for your support – past, present and future. It isn’t possible without you.

Warm regards,

Professor Graham Le Gros CNZM FRSNZ FRCPA (Hon)