Kevin Rudd opens asbestos research centre
21 January 2009
The Prime Minister and NSW Premier today jointly welcomed the opening of the world's first stand-alone research facility dedicated to the prevention and treatment of asbestos-related diseases.
The $12 million Asbestos Disease Research Institute (ADRI) is housed in the Bernie Banton Centre which was named in honour of the late asbestos campaigner in 2007. The institute will provide early diagnosis and treatment for the victims of asbestos-related diseases.
Each year around 350 new cases of asbestos-related diseases are diagnosed in NSW alone.
In 2007 the University of Sydney and the Asbestos Research Foundation recruited the institute's inaugural director, the internationally renowned thoracic oncology expert Professor Nico van Zandwijk, from the Netherlands Cancer Institute. Bernie Banton was a member of the selection panel and was delighted with Professor van Zandwijk's appointment.
The University of Sydney provided a $5 million contribution for the building and research facilities at the new institute.
Further contributions to the institute's total $12 million cost came from the Workers' Compensation Dust Diseases Board of NSW, ANZAC Research Institute, James Hardie Industries, NSW Health and Concord Hospital/Sydney South West Area Health Service.
Sydney University's Professor van Zandwijk has already started collecting tissue samples from patients and is currently recruiting staff for the institute.
"Ultimately the aim will be to find new ways to treat a disease that is largely resistant to most forms of traditional therapy," said Professor van Zandwijk. "One avenue is the development of drugs that would stop the growth of cancers caused by exposure to asbestos."
Contact: Jake O'Shaughnessy
Phone: +61 2 9351 4312 or 0421 617 861