Finding cures for children's genetic diseases


Commonwealth Centenary aids cancer research


As Children’s Medical Research Institute approaches its 60th Anniversary, it was pleased to be the beneficiary of a $10,000 gift from Commonwealth Bank - who are celebrating their Centenary.

This week the Sydney Region Deputy Area Manager, Millie Manu, and the Toongabbie Branch Manager, Tom Brown, visited CMRI to present a cheque to support cancer research.

Every Commonwealth Bank branch was asked to choose an organisation that they were passionate about, as part of the Centenary Celebrations, and Mr Brown said cancer had touched his staff, so they selected CMRI.

“We know that research can create an end to people’s suffering, and that’s very powerful,’’ he said. “We hope that with research, no one else has to go through that pain.’’

Ms Manu said she had seen, first hand, how research could help. Her cousin was born with a rare genetic condition and was told he would not live beyond his fifth birthday. He is now aged 25.

“He’s alive, he still has a daily battle for his health, but he’s alive.’’

After presenting the cheque, Mr Brown and Ms Manu were taken on a tour of CMRI and heard about the research being done by senior scientists, including Associate Professor Tracy Bryan, who is Head of the Cell Biology Unit, and Senior Research Officer in the Cell Biology Unit, Dr Scott Cohen.

Professor Bryan talked about her team’s work in cancer research, and their focus on a key factor in the majority of cancers, telomerase – which allows cancer cells to grow out of control. She thanked the Commonwealth Bank for their support.

“Cancer cells are very good at evading our controls, and we need scientific research to outsmart them, Professor Bryan said.  “What most people don’t realize with medical research is that we need funding for machines, yes, but also to provide the scientists that do this work with a viable career.

"It was refreshing to hear from business people with an understanding that the most important component in any human endeavour is an investment in the people who are making new things possible.”

Dr Cohen said sustained funding produces more significant results.

“Stable support of scientists brings the ability to tackle the harder questions, to be more ambitious about what we can achieve. Every dollar that is put into biomedical research multiplies many times over in return.’’