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A breath of Newsletter of the Lung Institute of Western Australia (Inc)


New Grants Guarantee Lung Research These seven grants mean more people living with chronic lung disease will benefit from new and improved diagnosis and treatments, and improved quality of life. Congratulations to the Genetics Unit for winning grants for their projects ‘Aberrant alternative splicing defines the severity of asthma’; and ‘Managing asthma severity by managing PGD2 receptors’, awarded by the Asthma Foundation WA and Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group Research Advisory Committee respectively.


even lung research projects have been guaranteed this quarter with confirmation of funding from seven highly competitive research grants. Researchers from the Lung Institute of Western Australia will be able to work on new and existing projects over the next 12–24 months with grants ranging from between $26,500 and $650,000. Stem cell researcher Dino Tan has also secured a postdoctoral fellowship, funding his position for the next three years. The scientific research grant market is highly competitive, and researchers need to spend considerable time applying for grants as well as carrying out practical research.

Also congratulations to the Tissue Repair Group for their project ‘miR-223 and miR-222 regulate tumour development in malignant mesothelioma’, awarded by the Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group Research Advisory Committee.

Project Grant for his project, ‘STAT3 regulation of cell responses in IPF’. The Pleural Disease Unit won a grant from the Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group Research Advisory Committee for their project ‘Optimizing the use of indwelling pleural catheter in management of malignant pleural effusions’. Final congratulations to the Stem Cell Unit’s Yuben Moodley and Dino Tan, for winning grants for their projects ‘A curative strategy for cystic fibrosis lung disease’ and ‘Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bacterial infection, awarded by Telethon – New Children’s Hospital Research Fund 2012 and Ada Bartholomew Medical Research Trust.

Further congratulations to the Tissue Repair Group’s Head, Prof Steven Mutsaers for winning the NHMRC

In this issue Director’s report


L I F E Update


A novel therapeutic approach to treat malignant mesothelioma


Characteristics of T-cell coreceptors in COPD


Dino’s Post-doctoral Fellowship was awarded by the Medical Research Foundation of Royal Perth Hospital and the University of Western Australia.

Members’ Information


Contd. page 2...

Newsletter of the Lung Institute of Western Australia (Inc) Summer 2014




Members’ Tea Party

From the Director’s Desk Staff Profile – Dino Bee Aik Tan Dino Tan is a Senior Research Officer at the Lung Institute of WA. He started working in the Stem Cell Unit after completing his PhD at UWA in 2011. Dino investigates the role of immune cells and molecules that contribute to the progression of chronic lung disease (COPD), and has recently been awarded the MRF-UWA Research Fellowship and the Ada Bartholomew Research Trust grant this year. Dino is originally from Malaysia, growing up in a city called Melaka. His family (parents and an older brother) migrated to Perth, Australia at the end of year 2000. He completed his high school studies in Winthrop Baptist College in 2002. He then graduated with a BSc (Honours) in Pathology from UWA in 2006 and completed his PhD in 2011 in the area of HIV immunology and infectious diseases. During his PhD, Dino co-ordinated a research study of HIV patients who received anti-retroviral treatment in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Dino says: “My research interest is identifying the immunological processes which can promote or prevent chronic diseases such as COPD and other chronic infections.”

In Memoriam It is with great sadness that we share the news that long standing member Ian McCallum has passed away. Our thoughts are with his wife Jan at this time.



November 20 – keep your eyes out for our free lung testing in Perth’s CBD around this date.

Prof Philip Thompson


elcome to the Lung Institute of Western Australia’s Christmas edition 2013.

As we look back on the year that has been, we say thank you to all our staff, researchers, supporters, members, volunteers and donors for their dedication and hard work to improve the lives of people living with chronic lung disease. The one in four people in Australia living with a chronic lung disease have always been our main focus, and will continue to be as we move into 2014 with new plans, partnerships and initiatives. Patients have been at the heart of our community engagement and fundraising work this year, including Cook for a Cure – a Research Australia initiative raising money for and awareness of scientific research. We have also been raising awareness of those living with chronic lung disease through our video entry into the Orange Seed Project (see our website for details), and through our recognition of World COPD Day on

As we look ahead to 2014, we welcome three new members to the Board. They are Winthrop Professor George Yeoh and Winthrop Professor Geoff Laurent both from the University of Western Australia and Professor Simon Leunig from Curtin University. George Yeoh is an internationally recognised scientist who has been the Sub Dean Research in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Science for many years and Geoff Laurent has been a world leader in lung fibrosis who has recently established the Centre for Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine at UWA. Simon is Dean of International studies at Curtin and has a wealth of experience in education and marketing. These three new Board members will have a major impact as they each bring a wealth of experience in what is needed to succeed at the highest level in medical research and training. They will strengthen our relationships with two of Australia’s major universities and internationally as well. We look forward to working closely with them on the LIWA Board. Celebrity Chef Russell Blaikie and LIWA Director Prof Phil Thompson

Newsletter of the Lung Institute of Western Australia (Inc) Summer 2014

evere weather on Friday, 26 July didn’t stop members and supporters of the Lung Institute of Western Australia enjoying a Tea Party at the UWA Watersports Centre, on the Swan River.

Hon. Michael Sutherland MLA having a lung test

Anticipation is building as we get closer to our major move into our new home in the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research building on the QEII site. All staff and researchers based at the QEII site will be moving just prior to Christmas. This exciting move will have us located at the heart of WA research with new laboratories, office space and facilities for all concerned. Most importantly, basing the majority of our staff and researchers in the same space, will help improve our camaraderie and relationships, and improve our science and efficiency. 2014 will also see us exploring new partnerships with the University sector and with other external agencies to better position us financially and strategically. One of our primary goals is to seek funding to ensure we can secure the long term appointment of a new Director of LIWA. This is our major strategic goal for 2014. However till we are in a position to do so I will continue to lead LIWA and work hard to champion all that LIWA stands for at every level. On behalf of the LIWA family, I wish you a wonderful Christmas and New Year and hope you have an enjoyable holiday season with your friends and family. Prof Philip Thompson

Over 40 people enjoyed the morning including Clinical Trials Unit volunteers, members, supporters and staff. A special presentation was made by Colin Macnamara, a Clinical Trials patient, who gave an inspirational talk on living with severe asthma. Another person living with severe asthma, Lyndell Gore entertained the group by playing the flute. Executive Officer, Cameron Agnew spoke of the work LIWA has been doing so far this year and announced Cook for a Cure, a gift giving opportunity where people can cook their way to curing asthma.

Cameron Agnew and Colin MacNamara

We look forward to seeing our members and volunteers again for our Christmas event in December. The Lung Institute of WA has also been involved in the annual Melbourne Cup Luncheon, raising funds for the Glenn Brown Memorial Grant for Cystic Fibrosis and Bronchiectasis Research.

LIWA Research Grants

LIWA Board Appointments

Congratulations to the recipients of LIWA’s three $50,000 research grants, in support of the investigation of specific areas of lung disease.

Ms Suzanne Morey – Chair

The 2013 grant winners are:

The following persons make up the 2013 Board:

Prof Lou Landau – Deputy Chair Mr Bill Coleman – Secretary and Chair of Audit and Risk Committee

The LIWA Glenn Brown Memorial Grant for Cystic Fibrosis and Bronchiectasis Research

Mr Jesper Sentow – Treasurer and Chair of Finance Committee

Associate Professor Sue Jenkins

Geoff Stewart – Chair of the Scientific Committee.

The Alan King Westcare Project Grant for Infectious lung disease research Winthrop Professor Peter Lesouf Sarcoidosis and other granulomatous lung diseases Professor Steve Mutsaers

Newsletter of the Lung Institute of Western Australia (Inc) Summer 2014

Mr Johnson Kitto Prof Philip Thompson Prof George Yeoh Winthrop Prof Geoff Laurent A/Prof Simon Leunig



LIFE Update L I F E continues to meet monthly with the last gathering for the year coming up soon. In early December we’ll celebrate the Christmas season with a festive lunch. The restaurant venue is still being decided so contact Ann T. on 08 9337 5414 or Jenni E. on on for further details.

Inhibiting development pathways is a novel therapeutic approach for malignant mesothelioma Recent L I F E gatherings included a talk on convicts in WA by historian Bill Edgar in November. We also took part in the Self Help and Support Group Expo held at Garden City from 11–13 September and hosted by Connect Groups, the peak body in WA for support groups. L I F E brought together a team of volunteers to staff the display. We handed out information about lung disease and talked to people about the benefits of joining L I F E. Recent monthly meetings have featured a range of interesting speakers including Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital’s Natalia Forrest, the specialist pharmacist for respiratory medicine, Tim White, a professional percussionist and Kimmy and Dorothy, the wonderful ladies from Laughter Yoga WA.

Tim White

LIFE Chair Jenni Ibrahim

Events calendar 5 DECEMBER 2013

11 DECEMBER 2013

Members’ Christmas Party

The LIFE Community Support Group

LIWA would like to thank our supporters and members and celebrate all the successes of 2013 and get ready to look forward to 2014. Contact Janet on 9346 3198 or email

Members, family and friends are welcome to the Christmas lunch social get-together, at Cicerello’s, Fremantle from 12 noon. For more information contact Jenni at or Ann T on 9337 5414.

2014 As always, 2014 will contain a full year of monthly Medical Research Seminar Series. Subscribe to our newsletter PUFF on our website or check our website, Facebook and Twitter page to keep up to date.



Newsletter of the Lung Institute of Western Australia (Inc) Summer 2014

Prof Steve Mutsaers and CB Lim


huan Bian (CB) Lim is a PhD student within our Tissue Repair Group supervised by Prof Steven Mutsaers, Assoc/Prof Cecilia Prêle, Dr Svetlana Baltic and Prof Philip Thompson. The title of his thesis is “The role of hedgehog signalling in malignant mesothelioma”.

Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer mainly of the sac lining the lungs and strongly associated with inhalation of asbestos fibres. This cancer has a poor prognosis, with an average life expectancy only 12 months from diagnosis. This cancer is particularly relevant to WA due to a previous asbestos mine in the north west of WA and extensive use of asbestos in various occupations. More recently there has been an increase of mesothelioma due to home renovations as many old buildings contain asbestos. Clearly a novel therapeutic approach is needed to help treat mesothelioma. CB has shown that mesothelioma tumours and cells have increased levels of proteins involved in a growth promoting pathway called hedgehog.

This pathway is important for normal development but is reactivated following injury and in some diseases. CB hypothesised that blocking this pathway would be an effective approach to treat mesothelioma. He examined the effect of GANT61, an inhibitor that blocks one of the key proteins in the hedgehog pathway, and showed that this reduced mesothelioma cell proliferation and survival. CB then investigated the way GANT61 was killing cells and found that it used several mechanisms to induce its effects. Importantly, co-treatment of MM cells with low doses of GANT61 and the chemotherapeutic agent cisplatin, enhanced their cytotoxic effects against MM cells, suggesting that combining these treatments may improve mesothelioma treatment.

Australian IPF Registry a valuable tool The Australian Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) Registry was recently profiled at the Rare Lung Diseases short course (RLDSC) that was held in Sydney on August 9 and 10. With more than 290 participants now contributing to the Registry it is becoming a valuable tool to help researchers understand more about this complex disease. Two analytical papers were presented as posters at the RLDSC.

The Registry aims to enroll all Australians with IPF so that the information collected can help researchers to learn more about this serious disorder. If you have Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis please ask your respiratory physician about the Registry during your next visit. Health care providers please contact the WA Registry Coordinator, Emily Stevens by phone 08 9346 7527 or email emily.stevens@liwa.uwa. or visit http://www. professional-resources/registries/ australian-ipf-registry/

Newsletter of the Lung Institute of Western Australia (Inc) Summer 2014



Characteristics of T-cell coreceptors and immune responses in Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)


ino Bee Aik Tan is a Senior Research Officer within our Stem Cell Unit, working under Professor Yuben Moodley. Dino investigates the role of immune cells and molecules that contribute to the progression of chronic lung disease (COPD). COPD is the most common cause of respiratory mortality worldwide. COPD is characterized by a progressive decline in lung function and chronic irreversible inflammation. Removal of precipitants (usually smoking) and current treatment strategies may slow down COPD but do not stop it from becoming a chronic disorder. A proportion of COPD patients (around 10%) experience regular acute exacerbations (AECOPD), defined as significant worsening of COPD symptoms requiring treatment and/or hospitalisation. AECOPD increases the burden of the disease and the chances of dying. Around half of the episodes of AECOPD are associated with pulmonary bacterial infections, predominantly non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) and Streptococcus pneumoniae (Sp). Current vaccines and antibiotic trials have not prevented AECOPD. Therefore, a better understanding of the susceptibility to these events is important. We propose that chronic inflammation induces excess anti-inflammatory signals, which compromise protective lymphocyte T-cell responses against bacteria in COPD patients and so promote AECOPD.



Now recruiting

Cook for a Cure Round up

The Clinical Trials Unit would like to hear from people with the following respiratory conditions who are interested in taking part in studies for new medications. Phone 08 9346 3198 or visit liwa.uwa. for further information.

The Cook for a Cure gift giving initiative alongside Research Australia was an excuse to cook and share a healthy meal while raising money for the Lung Institute of WA’s severe asthma project and other causes around the country.


Everyone who got involved had a lot of fun, and it was a great opportunity for us to get some great media exposure including Channel 10 news and the West Australian.

DRI 12544: A 42 week study to evaluate dupilumab in patients with moderate to severe uncontrolled asthma. 20120141: A 28 week study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of brodalumab in those whose asthma symptoms are not controlled by the medications they are currently taking. GB28689: A 52 week trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of lebrikizumab in patients with uncontrolled asthma despite the use of an inhaled corticosteroid and a second controller medication. Dino has completed the first study to link the expression of T-cell inhibitory molecules with immune responses to bacteria in the context of AECOPD. The data indicates that AECOPD patients exhibit increased systemic inflammation evidenced by higher plasma level of inflammatory biomarkers such as C-reactive protein, interleukin (IL)-6 and soluble TNF receptors. Furthermore, cells from AECOPD patients have impaired production of cytokines (e.g. IFNγ, TNFα and IL-17) that are important for anti-bacterial immune responses. In addition, Dino observed increased expression of the T-cell inhibitory receptors, CD39, CTLA-4 and PD-1. Together, these data could account for the increased frequencies of infections in COPD patients.

Culturing bacteria

The Stem Cell Unit now intends to examine the potential of blocking these anti-inflammatory signals to improve bacterial-specific responses to prevent exacerbations in COPD patients. Their findings can be readily translated into clinical practise. The outcomes of this research will be relevant to other chronic bacterial diseases (e.g. otitis media) and mycobacterial infections (e.g. tuberculosis and NTM). As infections with drugresistant bacterial strains are becoming more common, therapies that can improve protective immune responses are increasingly important.

Newsletter of the Lung Institute of Western Australia (Inc) Summer 2014

D3250C00017: A 52 week treatment of benralizumab (MEDI-563) to study the efficacy and safety in patients with uncontrolled asthma symptoms despite regular inhalers.

COPD: PT003006: A 28 week study to see whether the new inhaled treatments that have been developed work better than those currently available for patients with COPD.

Cystic Fibrosis: VX09-809-102: A three month study to learn about the safety and efficacy of one study medication alone and in combination with another on patients with the homozygous or heterozygous for the F508del-CFTR gene mutation. Both study medications are tablets that are taken daily. The study comprises of nine visits over approximately three months. This is an international study.

chemical PGE2, which is capable of improving asthma and is produced by human airways. The study hopes to identify ways of better treating the symptoms of severe asthma, potentially reducing them altogether. Serbian feast

A highlight for people living with severe asthma was a visit to WA state parliament on Monday 5 August. Hosted by the Hon Michael Sutherland, a group of severe asthma patients, LIWA staff and Board members were accompanied by Members of Parliament. Celebrity chef Russell Blaikie, owner of Must Winebar endorsed the launch and brought along delicious feta, olive and capsicum tarts that were organic and high in anti-oxidents. During the event the Institute conducting lung function tests on MPs and guests as part of the ongoing awareness-raising of lung disease. The launch also acknowledged parliamentarian support for local research and encouraged the community to host their own cooking event and raise funds for the severe asthma project. Cook for a Cure encouraged Australians to cook their way to curing asthma and other conditions raising awareness of the importance of scientific research at the same time. All gifts donated to the Lung Institute of Western Australia’s project ‘Severe Asthma’ through Cook for a Cure events will work to better understand the naturally occurring

Newsletter of the Lung Institute of Western Australia (Inc) Summer 2014

Cook for a Cure Must Winebar winner Congratulations to Svetlana Baltic who hosted the most unique event. Svetlana has won a $200 voucher to Must Winebar, Mt Lawley, kindly donated by celebrity chef Russell Blaikie. Svetlana held two “Serbian Feast” events for her friends and family, preparing two different four course dinners. Svetlana prepared food for a whole week prior to each event, serving such traditional dishes as mezze, proja, sarma, Karadjordjeve schnitzels, BBQed chevapchichi and pljeskavice and of course a variety of Serbian breads, cakes and tortes! She raised a total of $800 over the two evenings, and both evenings were great fun. Thank you Svetlana!



Membership News NEW MEMBERS LIWA would like to welcome our new members: Husain Baraja Philip Beer Ernie Bindel Francis Cain Mark Cain Vinicius Cavalheri

Jim Clinto Alistair Cook Kevin Davey Carlie Dunford John Graham Rodger Harris

Ingrid Laing Chuan Bian Lim John Lovell Colin MacNamara Hilary Monton Susan Peters

Marisa Ryan Patricia Ann da Silva William Solich Peter Le Souef Geoff Steed Rajesh Thomas

Mal Tiet Damian Vujcich Barbara Webster Peter Webster

Members’ Christmas Party Please join us for our Christmas party to help us thank our supporters and members and to celebrate our successes of 2013, and begin to look forward to 2014. Highlights to include: • Professor Yuben Moodley on his journey through respiratory medicine. • Announcements of our grant winners. • Tours of our new facilities. Venue: The Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research Building Level 2 Conference Room (map provided with your invitation) Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands Date: Thursday, 5 December Time: 4:30 – 7:30 pm Canapes, soft drinks, beer and wines available. Paid parking available. RSVP to Janet by 21 November at: or 9346 3198.

Supporting liwa

Donation details Please find enclosed a cheque

There are many ways you can support liwa. I wish to make a donation of to respiratory research.

Please deduct $.......... from my credit card

I would like information about becoming a member.



I would like information about mentioning LIWA in my will. I would like to find out more about fundraising for LIWA.







All donations over $2 are tax deductible. You will be mailed a receipt.



Lung Institute of Western Australia (Inc) Ground Floor, E Block, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Nedlands, Western Australia, 6009 Email: Phone: +61 8 9346 3198

Newsletter of the Lung Institute of Western Australia (Inc) Summer 2014

7089 lung news summer 8pp v3fin  

A breath of fresh air summer 2014

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