(L-R) Mr Alastair Lucas AM, Sir Gustav Nossal, Ms Connie Johnson, Mr Peter Scott, Professor Sharon Lewin, Mr Simon McKeon
Mr Alastair Lucas AM, has spoken for the first time about his recent diagnosis with brain cancer that’s forced him to take extended leave from his position of Chairman of Burnet Institute and the Medical Research Future Fund Action Group.
Speaking at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute at the launch of a campaign to ensure the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) becomes a reality, Mr Lucas said he was confident that science would eventually find a way to cure brain tumours.
“What I do know is that science, one day, will bring tumours to their knees,” he said.
In a good-natured reference to his own circumstances, a smiling Mr Lucas described the MRFF as a ‘no brainer’ and a golden opportunity that must not be squandered.
“The key to the reduction of suffering, the key to the progress of humanity is health,” he said.
“The key to human health is medical research and the key to medical research is resources, and we don’t have enough resources.
“The government has announced a willingness to put AUD$20 billion into medical research, and we have an absolute golden opportunity to bring this to fruition.
“And what I mean is $20 billion delivered in 2022, not $19.9 billion in 2023. We simply have to make it happen and that is our task.”
President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) and Burnet Director and CEO, Professor Brendan Crabb said the MRFF would ensure that Australia built on its track record to lead, rather than fall behind in medical and health innovation.
“This campaign is unprecedented in its scale, bringing together every facet of the health and medical research community,” Professor Crabb said.
“It emphasises the potential of the MRFF to change the lives of Australians and our nation’s future.”
The inaugural Director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at Melbourne University, Professor Sharon Lewin, said the MRFF was vital to keep Australia at the cutting edge of science.
“It will allow for strategic investment, for us to decide what are the really serious big health challenges and make a serious go at addressing them,” she said.
“It will allow for us to ensure we keep, retain and attract the best minds in science and to keep young scientists in the business.
“And it will allow us to invest in all aspects of research - discovery research, applied research, operational research - because we need all of those areas to achieve great health outcomes.
“Most importantly, it will allow us to be at the seat of the table globally, in health research.”
“That means being able to access the latest treatments and being them very quickly home to Australians.”
For more information about MRFF visit www.imagineahealthierfuture.org