Monday, 11 September 2017

Monash research into myeloma receives generous donation

Associate Professor Jake Shortt, Dr Zahra Sabouri-Thompson
and Mr Russell Bode
A generous donation by a former myeloma patient will directly fund research into the disease at the Monash Health TranslationPrecinct.

Mr Laurence ‘Laurie’ Bode sadly passed away from myeloma in July 2016.  Keen to make a difference and improve outcomes for myeloma patients, Laurie’s family identified Monash University’s Associate Professor Jake Shortt as a leader in myeloma research.  The family has recently bequeathed his laboratory $100,000.

Associate Professor Shortt is a Monash Health haematologist and Head of the Blood Cancer Therapeutics Laboratory, Monash University at the Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP).   

“The Bode family reviewed the work we are doing in myeloma at the MHTP and wanted to fund a 'discovery project' looking for new treatments,” Associate Professor Shortt said.

Laurie Bode with his grandchild
“Their generous donation has enabled us to dedicate a full time scientist, Dr Zahra Sabouri-Thompson, to myeloma research, specifically aiming to discover how to 'drug' new targets in the myeloma cell.”

A former Electronic Warfare practitioner with the Department of Defence, Laurie had always enjoyed solving complex problems and approached his disease in the same way.  

Laurie’s brother and estate executor, Russell Bode, said Laurie hated not being in control of the outcome of his disease and the aim of the donation is to enable research into a curative solution.

“After the birth of his first grandchild in 2015, Laurie was adamant that a cure for cancer would be found, and it need not have the same crippling impact on future generations,” Russell said.

“Laurie’s generosity demonstrates his desire as an engineer to solve problems like myeloma, and not accept the fact the disease doesn’t have a cure.”

“His normal approach to complex issues in his electronic warfare engineering career was to thoroughly research the issue, and apply his no fuss practical innovative problem solving capability to a neat solution,” Russell said.

Laurie’s family are hopeful that the BloodCancer Therapeutics laboratory team will help find that solution.

Associate Professor Shortt said he is extremely grateful to the Bode family for helping translate his laboratory’s discoveries to new treatments in the clinic.

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