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Summer 2020 Newsletter

Posted: 10th December 2020

The theme of our last newsletter for 2020 is 'Research in action: Improving health outcomes for those in need', and it speaks directly to how our research can make a real impact on those living with, or at risk of developing, rare and common diseases.

Professor Tom Kay, Director, SVI reflects on how the importance of medical research has been brought to the fore, in a year that many of us won't soon forget. He touches on our role in the fight against COVID-19, and celebrates many noteworthy SVI successes.

We would be remiss if we did not mention his own success in being awarded the 2020 ADS (Australian Diabetes Society) Kellion Award, for his decades-long contribution to research into type 1 diabetes.

We also shed some light on Aicardi Goutières Syndrome, also known as AGS, and one family's journey as they learn to live with this rare genetic disease when their first born receives a diagnosis.

The launch of SVI's BANDIT (baricitinib in type 1 diabetes) trial is also celebrated as more than 30 years of research culminates in this trial to test an existing drug that we hope will hold the key to allowing people recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes to require significantly less insulin.

Anna Moresby has lived with type 1 diabetes since 1940, and she shares her experience of how treatment and therapies have changed over the years, and provides some advice on how to live a full life for those who are living with type 1 diabetes.

In funding news, we celebrate the Structural Biology Unit's success in receiving a National Foundation for Medical Research and Innovation grant to explore more treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

As always, there's much happening with our incredible Foundation team and SVI supporters, and we sadly say farewell to some long-term Foundation Board members - Brenda Shanahan, Jim Hatzimoisis and Maria Palozzolo - who will all be missed greatly.

Another long-time Foundation Board member, Claire O'Callaghan, gives us an update on the Support Group's efforts to raise funds for our outstanding students - there seems to be no slowing her and the Group down; and some SVI community supporters provide some inspiration and motivation to SVI and our researchers, as they look at creative ways to raise money to keep our research going.

And what better way to wrap up a bumper issue, than with a visit with Joan Chappell. Joan was married to former SVI Board Chair, Jock Chappell and is a former Support Group member. Joan reminds us she is as determined as ever to support our researchers, and tells us why she is leaving a bequest to SVI in her Will.

Yes, it's been a long, hard year, but these people remind us of how precious life is and why they are as committed to medical research as ever - if not more so.

We wish you all a safe and healthy holiday break, and look forward to catching up again in 2021.

You can read the newsletter here.