The Road Ahead : February March 2014
QUEENSLAND'S LARGEST CLUB 15 QLD INTERVIEW | LIFESTYLE IMAGES: PROF IAN FRAZER, INSIDE THE TRI AT WOOLOONGABBA (COURTESY TRI). FEB/MAR 2014 THE ROAD AHEAD Prof Frazer uses his respected profile to leverage the considerable funding and donations needed to provide the aforesaid resources. But just how comfortable is he in adjusting from donning a white coat in the backroom, to wearing a business suit in the boardroom? "I wouldn't say it sits easily on my shoulders," he said, in maintaining the metaphor. "I prefer to be a scientist and get on and do the science, but I recognise that there's an important role for people to be a champion for science ... and it's in that role that I have to wear the business suit." Like most people, this RACQ member too has his good -- and bad -- days. "A good day is when I'm in the lab talking with students and 'post docs' about the work we're doing, particularly if we get a nice result which suggests we're moving one step closer towards a solution for skin cancer," he revealed. "A bad day is when there might not be enough money to pay the staff for the next year, and the reality is that I have to let someone know they won't have a job." Read up on Prof Ian Frazer and chances are you will find some surprising info -- references to him being a 'party animal' and 'occasional impersonator of Gene Simmons (lead singer of '70-'80s band Kiss)'. So, are these fit and fair descriptions? "They're true really," he said, with a soft chuckle. "I don't get chance to be a party animal as much as I'd like, but there are times when I've been 'recognised' -- or 'misrecognised' -- as Gene Simmons." Then there's the story where, on one of many international business ABOUT TRI: The Translational Research Institute (TRI) marks a significant milestone in the history of medical research in Australia. The institute is a collaboration between the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute (UQDI) and UQ's School of Medicine, Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), Mater Research and the Princess Alexandra Hospital's Centres for Health Research, and DSM Biologics. Several of TRI's research teams already have treatments in clinical trials. Prof Ranjeny Thomas, Professor of Rheumatology and her team from UQDI, has developed a novel immunotherapy for rheumatoid arthritis. This is coupled with Prof Frazer's team trialling a vaccine to prevent herpes, and IHBI's Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre-Qld undertaking an international clinical trial to test the anti-cancer effect of a vitamin E-based compound on advanced stage, prostate cancer patients. TRI, at Woolloongabba in Brisbane's inner south, has been operational since November 2012. The institute will run several community programs across 2014. For more information, go to tri.edu.au. flights, he filled in his landing card with 'Australian of the year' as his profession. "That's also true ... the funny thing is, the person I handed the card to never really noticed." Away from work and family, (snow) skiing is his passion. So much so, that when asked what he would like to be, the answer is immediate -- ski instructor. Our interview goes way too quickly, leaving time for one last question -- what is going to be the next 'big thing' by way of a medical breakthrough? "Look, breakthroughs are more in the newspapers than in reality," he said. "But what is happening quietly in the background is a revolution in the way that we can manage cancer. Over the course of the next five to 10 years, cancer will go from being a serious, life threatening condition to something which, for the majority of people, will be treatable to where it's quite reasonable for them to expect to be cured through advances in medical science." Over the course of the next five to 10 years, cancer will go from being a serious, life threatening condition to something which, for the majority of people, will be treatable to where it's quite reasonable for them to expect to be cured...