TSANZ President Peter Gibson has urged members to get involved in a new joint initiative with Lung Foundation Australia that will give respiratory research the attention, and the funding, that it deserves.
Through a new collaboration called Lungs for Life the organisations will work together to advocate for increased funding for an area that up until now has received a woeful share of the research funding pot.
Announcing the initiative following the TSANZ and LFA awards Professor Christine Jenkins remarked that in 2013 only 7.5% of NHMRC funding went to respiratory disease despite the fact that lung disease was the cause of 1 in 7 deaths.
And only 5% of tumour specific funding went to lung cancer despite it being the leading cause of cancer death.
“We have a lot of work to do to both raise people’s awareness of lung disease and the level of funding for lung research in Australia,” she told delegates.
Stepping up to the podium Professor Gibson explained that the lungs for life vision was ‘improving lives today and working for tomorrow’s cure’.
“It’s bold and expansive and is designed to tap in to all aspects of the disease – specifically, prevention, treatment and cure,” he said.
The focus was also about trying to understand the development of respiratory disease throughout life, specifically looking at life events from conception through to the grave.
An initial task for the organising committee will be to identify funding beyond traditional funding sources said Professor Gibson.
“We will look towards philanthropic donors to build a foundation that will support research throughout each stage of life and then to try and match project areas with large major funders,” he said.
However it was vital that members of the respiratory community embraced the initiative.
“Our appeal to you is to get involved…We can’t really stand up here and say respiratory research is underfunded if we are not doing something ourselves about funding respiratory research,” he said.
In particular the organising committee are looking for members to contribute ideas on research areas or themes that should be prioritised.
Members will be able to submit their ideas through their special interest groups.
For more information visit: www.thoracic.org.au