New health partnership to progress cancer cure

A new health partnership hopes to translate laboratory research into radically improved treatment of diseases, including cancer.

The partnership is a collaboration between the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute (GMRI), headed by renowned plastic surgeon Dr Swee Tan, and three lower North Island District Health Boards (DHBs).

GMRI is pioneering an innovative field of cellular and molecular research that may radically change the traditional understanding of disfiguring and life-threatening conditions. This could lead to greatly improved treatment of, and possibly the cure for, cancer.

The Wairarapa, Hutt Valley, and Capital & Coast DHBs have signed a formal memorandum of understanding with the GMRI to promote close interchange, collaboration and sharing of ideas between leading DHB clinicians and the GMRI’s scientists.

“With persistence and the right environment, more effective treatment of many conditions can be found in the future,” Dr Tan says.

“The agreement signifies that this is a view that is shared by the GMRI and the DHBs. Our organisations already have much in common. With a closer working relationship we will be able to enhance research and improve educational, business, health and social outcomes.”

Dr Tan heads the GMRI’s world-class research team, whose work may lead to a paradigm shift in the way numerous diseases, including cancer, fibrotic conditions and vascular birthmarks are treated. The GMRI’s research may also result in seminal developments in regenerative medicine.

“The team at the GMRI is internationally recognised for their ground-breaking work,” says Wairarapa and Hutt Valley DHB chief executive, Graham Dyer.

“We are pleased to formalise the relationship that the GMRI has had with the DHBs for many years. During much of this time, the team was based at Hutt Hospital and various clinical groups have collaborated with the GMRI on many research projects.”

Interim chief executive, Debbie Chin, says Capital & Coast DHB is thrilled to be able to accommodate the Institute in a new purpose-built laboratory next to Wellington Hospital.

“Our close working relationship with our neighbours in the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa already enables us to provide more convenient care for our patients and our aim is to extend these benefits further.”

Capital & Coast and Hutt Valley DHB chair, Dr Virginia Hope, says many highly-regarded international experts and organisations understand the immense potential of the discoveries of Dr Tan’s team, and their implication for the treatment of cancer.

“This MOU enshrines the collaboration and cooperation that has been a feature of Dr Tan’s and the GMRI’s work,” Dr Hope says.