PlusLife to open a transplant research centre in Midland

Professor Andrew Smith with PlusLife research and development coordinator Ying Fan.
Professor Andrew Smith with PlusLife research and development coordinator Ying Fan.

A STATE-OF-THE-ART research centre will be established in Perth’s east to develop ground-breaking bone and tissue transplant projects to help save West Australian lives.

Bone and tissue bank PlusLife recently secured a $250,000 LotteryWest grant to build the laboratory in Midland for researchers to develop breakthroughs in transplant processes.

The organisation provides bone and tissue grafts to treat patients with spinal deformities, young people with bone cancers (often preventing the amputation of a limb), and patients with arthritic joint disease and sporting injuries.

PlusLife board director and research and development committee chairman Andrew Smith said research at the centre would contribute to the quality of life of patients they helped.

“This research will combine PlusLife’s current knowledge in the fields of cellular and molecular biology with clinical expertise to ensure that we continue to provide the very best and safest bone and tissue products to clinicians and patients,” he said.

“In addition, we are also required to undertake ethically approved research to continually improve our existing graft product range and provide new products for surgical procedures.”

Professor Smith said the facility would accommodate collaborations with orthopaedic, maxillofacial, spinal and dental surgeons, and post-graduate students at the University of WA, Curtin Medical School and Notre Dame University.

“Principally, research will focus on orthopaedic surgery, which is specifically the targeted use of bone material for limb saving procedures of people with cancer, mostly young children and adolescents,” he said.

“There will also be an emphasis on dental products, significant amounts of bone can be needed for jaw reconstructions and one of the most common uses for bone nowadays is in ordinary, fairly routine dental treatments.

“We hope to be able to improve the quality of life for a significant number of people through this important research work.”