Flinders Medical Centre Foundation
Flinders Medical Centre Foundation



Monday, 11 November 2013 11:05

After celebrating its 30th anniversary earlier this year, the Eye Bank of South Australia at Flinders Medical Centre is marking another major milestone - its 3000th donated cornea.


Margaret Philpott, who has been the Eye Bank's Coordinator since 1997, said reaching 3,000 donated corneas was a "proud' moment in the service's long history.


She said the demonstrated public support for the service meant that potential transplant recipients could be confident they "won't have long to wait".


The 3000th donated cornea will be used for research purposes, helping researchers to understand graft rejection, the disease process in congenital cataracts, Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy and glaucoma.


"Research is vitally important for gathering information so that existing problems can be solved," Margaret said.


"Research into eye disease requires the generosity of donor families, time, effort, money and a focus to understand more about these conditions to find interventions and treatments.


"In the Eye Bank we have a golden opportunity to assist in improving the quality of life of the next generation and donor families are also enthusiastic about this opportunity."


The first known cornea transplant occurred in 1905 in Moravia - now the Czech Republic. The procedure became more common following World War II, with a number of eye banks being set up across the globe.


The Eye Bank of South Australia was the first service of its type in Australia. There are now five eye banks across the country.


Margaret said almost anyone can donate their eyes, regardless of age, sex, race, or previous physical condition. Wearing glasses or poor vision does not prevent eye donation.


"We are proud to be part of a life changing event experienced by so many South Australians, which is only made possible by the generosity of people who make such an important decision to donate and the families who uphold those wishes," Margaret said.


Anyone interested in organ and tissue donation should visit the donate life website and sign up to the donor register.


For more information about cornea donation please contact Margaret on (08) 8204 4928 or email her here.


To make a monetary donation to support the work of the eye bank or to support ophthalmology research click here.



Monday, 11 November 2013 10:52

We are pleased to announce the 2013pinkyellowblueball was a resounding success, thanks to principal partner Aussie Glenelg and our countless supporters.


The show-stopping Broadway theme provided plenty of entertainment before the dancing got underway, thanks to Jo Casson from Ding Productions who assembled a talented cast of South Australian performers who had toured musical theatre nationally and internationally.


More than 60 costumes were showcased as the cast, including the child stars of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Piper Horner and Finn Green, performed songs from musicals including West Side Story, Hairspray, Pirates of Penzance, We Will Rock You and Rocky Horror Picture Show.


The night was introduced by the Pembroke School Choir singing 'Do you hear the people sing' as they placed beautiful lantern centrepieces onto each table which were for sale for $50. The centrepieces quickly sold out, but can now be ordered online here.


Our headline performer, Australia's leading lady of musical theatre Marina Prior, charmed guests as she showcased her magnificent voice with excerpts from her career in music theatre spanning thirty years.


The main auction captured the imagination of guests with a collection of money-can't-buy items and experiences. Top sellers included an Anna Platten original, a 50 per cent share in a promising young racehorse, and a magnificent South African safari adventure.


Toyota donated a Yaris as first prize in our major raffle, which was won by regular pinkyellowblueball attendee and father of six Andy Galpin.


Principal partner Jamie Lowden from Aussie Glenelg also surprised one lucky guest when David Bonetti's name was drawn in the free raffle to win $5,000.


To view photos from the event please visit our Facebook page.



Monday, 14 October 2013 08:58

When 27-year-old mother of two Kiki van de Laar noticed a lump in her left breast in early January, she assumed it was a cyst and thought nothing of it.


Just weeks after telling her GP about the lump, Kiki was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and subsequently underwent surgery to have her left breast removed.


The Flinders Medical Centre patient, who is a professional photographer, decided to document her battle against breast cancer in photographs, bringing her camera along to appointments, scans and even surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.


"When I first heard the news I was shocked," Kiki, of Huntfield Heights, said.


"I wondered why this was happening to me. I am only 27 years old, I have breastfed both of my children and there seems to be no history of breast cancer in my family.


"I was scared but I felt strong too - I knew I would do anything I could to deal with this as I have so much to live for."


Kiki recently released her book 'Courage through a lens - A breast cancer journey' online as an eBook. She hopes the book will strip away some of the fear for men and women facing a similar battle.


"I aim to be an inspiration to other women and help them because I am showing them through my lens what this journey exactly looks like, all the steps of the way.


"So many stories have been written, but the scary bit is the unknown and I want to break through that.


"As a professional photographer I have the gift to capture memories and I have captured all the steps of my journey in a realistic, natural way with style without the drama."


Kiki has recently completed intensive rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She is also planning to have her right breast removed as a preventative measure.


She said medical and nursing staff at the hospital had been happy to help with her book.


"I took my camera to all appointments/scans and they were patient with me so I could set up everything - they have been very supportive."


Kiki and her husband Rogier immigrated to Australia from the Netherlands in 2009, before having their two children Mick, 3, and Tatum, 1.


Kiki's book is available for purchase at www.kikiscourage.com for $19.99. She will donate 50 per cent of the proceeds to breast cancer research charities including the FMC Foundation.


Friday, 04 October 2013 00:00


Breakthroughs for Motor Neuron Disease

Monday, 30 September 2013 11:49

Funding from the Flinders Medical Centre Foundation has helped a Flinders motor neuron disease research team develop a groundbreaking way of targeting motor neurons with a gene therapy.


The team (pictured right) has also found a possible new means of diagnosing Motor Neuron Disease (MND), a neurodegenerative disorder which causes the death of motor nerve cells within the spinal cord and brain responsible for controlling muscle movement.


With no effective treatment available to reverse or halt the degeneration caused by the disease, most patients only live an average of three years after diagnosis.


The new targeted treatment, which is based on stopping the production of toxic proteins or introduce therapeutic proteins into motor neuron cells, is showing promise in a mouse model of MND.


The developers of the novel therapy, Dr Mary-Louise Rogers and Professor Robert Rush from the Department of Human Physiology at Flinders Medical Centre, say their research is based on a technology called immunogenes which enables antibodies to deliver therapeutic genes into degenerating nerves.


“The new immunogene technology helps trick the circulatory system into allowing the treatment to reach the motor neurons, and enables this technology to be used in animals and humans for drug delivery for a whole range of conditions,” Dr Rogers said.


She said this breakthrough has helped overcome previous targeting problems caused by the body’s circulatory system, which would rapidly clear the gene therapy before it reached the motor neurons.


Alongside this research, the team has also determined a possible biomarker for the early diagnosis and better prognosis of MND.


Currently, the only way to establish what stage of the MND a patient has is by visual assessment or by muscle biopsies.


By testing the urine of people living with MND and the urine of healthy trial participants, the team has determined that there is a significant amount of their biomarker in the urine of MND patients compared to healthy controls.


“If we can tell from the biomarker that someone who has a family history of MND, for example, has the disease before the symptoms show up we might be able to treat them earlier,” Dr Rogers said.


To watch the ABC News Report on this groundbreaking research click here.


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