“To be an innovative medical research institute that engages and enriches society and improves health outcomes through discovery, translation and education.”
In 2020, approximately 150,000 Australians were newly diagnosed with cancer and almost 50,000 cancer patients lost their lives to this disease. Many cancer patients respond to standard chemotherapy or newer, targeted therapies but those with relapsed or treatment-resistant cancer have poorer prognoses.
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy is a revolutionary new type of personalised cancer treatment that “trains” a patient’s immune system to attack their cancer. However, use is largely restricted at the moment due in large part to life threatening side effects. These side effects mean that treatment which has the potential to save many patients’ lives is not available to them.
WEHI, in collaboration with Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, have created technology capable of optimising CAR-T cell therapy for particular cancers.
It is hoped this technology can be used to select the optimum balance of safety and efficacy for different groups of patients as new CAR-T cell therapies are developed.
The platform will first be tested on blood and brain cancers, with results providing the evidence required to advance the commercialisation process. This approach can then be applied to other types of cancer.
Our donation to this organisation is made possible through our relationship with Hearts and Minds Investments. Hearts and Minds Investments (HM1:ASX) is a unique listed investment company striving to deliver attractive equity investment returns for shareholders, while providing funding for Australian medical research. The HM1 portfolio is a mix of the highest conviction ideas pitched by invitation at the SOHN Hearts and Minds annual conference, as well as via the six core managers, of which TDM is proud to be included. HM1’s charitable goal is made possible by waiving typical investment fees and instead, making a donation to the suite of HM1 medical research beneficiaries. As such, TDM donates its proportion of the allocated 1.5% management fee via the TDM Foundation each year. We approached the donation opportunity as we would any of our potential investments, spending considerable time learning about the medical research industry, what challenges researchers are facing and what the most pressing health issues are on Australia’s horizon and what funding is available. We reviewed more than 70 medical research institutes with an aim to support institutes which are solving the most challenging problems with scalable benefits to the community. At the end of this exhaustive process, we feel privileged to support four projects, the researchers leading them and the institutes backing them.