Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Deputy Premier; Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade; Tourism; Commerce; Science

    Powerhouse partnership to improve childhood lung health

    11/08/2020 1:30 PM
    • Wal-yan Respiratory Research Centre to tackle chronic respiratory illness in children
    • Focus on working towards healthy lungs for every child, for life
    • Strategic partnership between Perth Children's Hospital Foundation, Telethon Kids Institute and Perth Children's Hospital
    • $10 million fundraising commitment from Perth Children's Hospital Foundation and Telethon Kids Institute

    Western Australian children living with chronic respiratory illnesses are set to benefit from a new research centre launching today that brings together some of the brightest research minds and leading paediatric clinicians focused on ensuring all children have healthy lungs for life.


    The Wal-yan Respiratory Research Centre is the first of its kind at Perth Children's Hospital and reflects a cutting edge partnership between clinicians, scientists and the community to drive a new research agenda for childhood lung health.


    The Centre will work towards preventing - and hopefully one-day curing - respiratory illness in children, through building on the long-term reputation of WA's respiratory researchers who have been recognised as amongst the best in the world.


    The Centre's full name, Wal-yan Warlang-up, means 'Place of Healthy Lungs' in Noongar language. With around one million children living with serious respiratory diseases in Australia, including 110,000 in WA, respiratory illnesses are the leading cause of hospital admissions for children under four, accounting for 30 per cent of all childhood hospitalisations.


    A centrepiece of the world-class respiratory research centre is an ambitious project that could stop children developing asthma.


    Scientists and their teams at the Centre will work in partnership with clinicians to investigate key components of how different immune pathways interact in lung and airway tissue to induce asthma. The Centre's scientists are spearheading the development of therapies that would function like an asthma vaccine to both train the immune system and protect the lining of the airways to prevent the development of childhood asthma.


    The research centre will be supported through a fundraising commitment of $10 million over five years from Perth Children's Hospital Foundation and Telethon Kids Institute.


    The centre aims to:

    • work towards a world where all children have healthy lungs for life;
    • improve the lives of children with breathing difficulties by finding ways to protect, repair and regenerate young lungs;
    • reduce the significant Indigenous health gap in relation to respiratory disease;
    • provide evidence-based respiratory health information to the community and advocate for issues relating to respiratory health in children and young people;
    • attract and retain the world's best respiratory research clinicians and develop the next-generation of respiratory research luminaries; and
    • drive the translation of research from laboratory, to the clinic and appointment.

    Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:


    "I am proud to see our reputation as a world class leader in paediatric respiratory research strengthened with the opening of this Centre.


    "The Wal-yan Respiratory Research Centre is an outstanding example of collaboration between researchers and clinicians.


    "Respiratory illness affects so many kids, and with one-fifth of Aboriginal children living with acute respiratory illness and being 10 times more likely to die from their disease, a focus on respiratory research and improved outcomes is vital.


    "I am confident the Wal-yan Respiratory Research Centre will have profound benefits for future generations of WA children and their families."


    Comments attributed to Telethon Kids Institute Director Jonathan Carapetis:


    "The Wal-yan Respiratory Research Centre enables our researchers to come together to think outside the box and dream bigger about that they can achieve. Working within a multidisciplinary research environment, they can drive pioneering discoveries out of the labs and into the community, across WA, Australia and beyond.


    "The Centre is unique in that it is focused on a life-long approach to respiratory health. Concentrating on improving the early diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of respiratory conditions, the Centre investigates childhood respiratory disease from the antenatal and postnatal risk factors, through to the health burden in infancy and childhood, and the chronic health issues that persist into adulthood."


    Comments attributed to Perth Children's Hospital Foundation Chief Executive Officer Carrick Robinson:


    "The Perth Children's Hospital Foundation is proud to be part of a powerhouse partnership with Telethon Kids Institute and Perth Children's Hospital to deliver what is arguably one of the most important research centres in children's health today.


    "As a co-funder of the Wal-yan Respiratory Research Centre we are confident that such a significant focus on childhood respiratory disease will not only have a profound impact on WA sick kids now but will continue to benefit kids with respiratory disease worldwide for future generations to come."


    Minister's office - 6552 6500