Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are the two major chronic respiratory diseases in Australia, with the incidence of asthma among the highest in the world, and COPD a major cause of death.
These disorders are a significant health and economic burden to the community. Researchers in the HMRI VIVA program are focused on understanding the cellular and molecular processes that are associated with the development and progression of respiratory diseases, such as asthma and COPD.
Chronic diseases of the airways including asthma are extremely common in Australia. In fact, the prevalence of asthma in Australia is among the highest in the world (Source – Global Asthma Report)
The pancreas is a gland of the digestive system. The causes of pancreatic cancer are unknown, but smokers are at greater risk. Likewise, the causes of colorectal cancer (including bowel cancer) are unknown but smoking and increasing age are risk factors.
Brain cancer kills more children and adults aged under 40 than any other cancer in Australia. (Source – Cure Brain Cancer Foundation)
In 2014, the Mark Hughes Foundation (MHF) was formed to raise much needed funds to promote brain cancer research, heighten awareness & support brain cancer patients and families.
Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow involving abnormal proliferation of blood cells.
It is projected that there are over 3,500 new cases of leukaemia diagnosed in Australia every year. (Source – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare)
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) is one of the most deadly and most common types of leukaemia affecting children aged 0 to 14 years and may also occur in adults.
Prostate cancer accounts for 13% of all cancer deaths in Australian men. With 1 in 5 men being diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 85, it is a significant cause of disease burden in our older population. (Source – Cancer Council Australia)
The prostate is a gland of the male reproductive system. Cancer of the prostate currently has no known definitive cause however the incidence does increase with age.
Ovarian cancer is one of Australia’s largest disease burdens, with a diagnosis meaning just a 43% chance of surviving for 5 years or longer.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Australian women with 1 in 8 women being affected. Although about 100 times more common in women, men can also develop breast cancer. (Source – National Breast Cancer Foundation)
Hunter researchers are interested in understanding how breast cancer develops, and identifying reliable biomarkers and genetic risks to reduce the number of women and men who die from the disease each year.
Understanding how melanoma functions and why melanoma cells in particular are resistant to normal mechanisms of cell death, known as apoptosis, is an important research aspect for Hunter Researchers in the HMRI Cancer Research Program.
Australia has one of the highest incidence rates of melanoma in the world. In fact, the risk of being diagnosed with melanoma by age 85 is 1 in 14 for men and 1 in 24 for women. (Source - Cancer Council Australia)
As well as researching the physiology of the heart itself, researchers in the HMRI cardiovascular group have a strong focus on how the heart and cardiovascular system responds to physical activity and how healthy interventions can help to prevent cardiovascular disease development.
Around 62 per cent of Australians adults do not meet the recommended physical activity guidelines (Source - Better Health Channel) whilst only 5.5% of Australian adults had an adequate usual daily intake of fruit and vegetables (Source - Heart Foundation).