A message from our Chair
Welcome to the first edition of Reflections’ e-Newsletter, designed to keep our volunteers, supporters and donor community informed about the work Reflections is doing to reduce the impact of asbestos on the community.
Since its inception in 2015, Reflections has continued to make a mark within the Western Australian (WA) and national asbestos awareness and support network, along with supporting the important work being undertaken in medical research into a long-term treatment for the terminal cancer, mesothelioma. With the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world and significant amounts of in situ asbestos in our built environment, asbestos has left a devastating legacy in WA. In line with the current strategic initiatives of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA), Reflections is currently focusing its endeavours on increasing the ongoing risks associated with asbestos.
A major milestone for Reflections was reached in 2018, when asbestos awareness training resources began being distributed to, and utilised by, Registered Training Organisations (RTO’s). This initiative was a result of months of investigation and consultation between Joanne Morris and the Construction Training Fund (CTF). At a workshop hosted by the CTF in mid-August 2017 for RTO’s and industry stakeholders, it was unanimously agreed that there was a need to adopt a consistent and relevant approach to asbestos awareness training for pre-apprentices and apprentices entering the construction industry in Western Australia.
An additional outcome of this initiative was the development and production of an animated asbestos awareness training video donated by Cell Media. This informative video has been made freely available as an online resource.
To cap off a year focusing on raising community awareness, Reflections, in partnership with Master Builders and the Housing Industry Association, is currently planning a major fun and fundraising event – STEELTOES & STILETTOS – to be held in March 2019. You can read more about this exciting initiative elsewhere in this newsletter.
On behalf of the Reflections board, I would like to wish each of you a safe and joyous Christmas and we look forward to sharing further developments in 2019.
NCARD Research Fellowship
In 2016, we had the opportunity to contribute $50,000 to fund a research fellow at the National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases (NCARD), Dr Linda Ye. Dr Le has since completed her Research Fellowship in lung cancer research and is inspired to continue onto a PhD.
Acknowledgement by Professor Anna Nowak, Director NCARD
On behalf of the National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases (NCARD), I wish to thank you for Reflections Through Reality’s generous research support. As you will read in this report, NCARD celebrated many achievements of staff and students in 2018.
A key aspect of NCARD’s collaborative research future is recognising and developing exceptional, passionate and determined research students. Your support has seen Dr Linda Ye complete her Research Fellowship with us at NCARD in lung cancer research and inspired her to continue onto a PhD. Dr Ye represents the next generation of researchers who will build on our work and develop the breakthroughs of the future.
Thank you once again for your ongoing support and investment in our vision.
Clinical trial preparations
During her lung cancer fellowship, under the primary supervision of Professor Bruce Robinson, Linda worked with the NCARD team to develop, write, and achieve ethics approval of a clinical trial protocol looking to explore the novel therapeutic strategy of neoantigen vaccination, initially in patients with lung cancer, with expansion into mesothelioma planned in the future. This treatment is expected to help one’s own immune system fight the cancer by generating an immune response against an individual’s unique cancer mutations. Ongoing planning and development are underway and the trial will be ready to start recruiting in the near future.
Lung cancer research projects
Additionally, Linda conducted regular lung cancer clinics and undertook two research projects based on molecular testing of lung cancer. These two projects helped to assess the pattern of expression of immunological and molecular markers in the Western Australian lung cancer population, and demonstrated the efficacy and feasibility of a new molecular test to detect a specific mutation seen in lung cancer. These projects were both presented at the Australasian Lung Cancer Conference in 2018, one has been accepted for publication and the other has just been submitted for publication.
Linda enjoyed her time as the NCARD research fellow immensely and the opportunity provided her with invaluable research and clinical experience, made possible by Reflections Through Reality. She hopes to continue lung and mesothelioma related research in the future and is currently planning to pursue a PhD through the neoantigen vaccine project.
Download the full report here