In a world first, the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute based in Concord, Sydney has been designated by the World Health Organization as a Collaborating Centre for the Elimination of Asbestos Related Diseases.
This recognition by WHO confirms ADRI as a global leader in asbestos related diseases and asbestos mitigation. It’s world class team of researchers, scientists, public health experts and lung nurses have been pro-actively training and teaching health professionals through workshops in developing countries aimed to detect, diagnose and treat asbestos-related diseases since 2017.
The Collaborating Centre Designation was formally announced at a special ceremony at ADRI on 23 February 2021, in the presence of Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC, Governor of New South Wales.
Assistant Director General of the WHO, Dr Naoka Yamamoto says, 'The World Health Assembly Resolution has called for global campaigns to eliminate asbestos-related diseases and take action on the preventable cancers associated with this exposure. This requires building capacities in countries to improve knowledge and practices. The Who has worked with ADR and Professor Takahashi for many years on this important topics and we are pleased to see this working relationship is now formalized.'
Since it opened in 2009, ADRI has pioneered bio-medical, clinical, public health and community initiatives and programs domestically and internationally to eliminate asbestos related diseases.
While many think of asbestos use as part of Australia's history - almost 18 years since a complete ban on asbestos use was implemented in Australia - some 4,000 Australians lose their lives to incurable asbestos–related diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis each year.
Of these, around 800 people die from mesothelioma because despite receiving the best care and while maintaining hope, the unfortunate reality is they will quickly succumb to this preventable disease. The social and economic impacts to carers, families and the community are devastating.
The specialist research and science team examine the interaction between genetics and environmental factors to help explain how diseases like mesothelioma occur and progress; they test new ways to deliver cancer treatments to patients; and, they look at which treatments may have success in limiting tumor growth and why?
‘We believe it is our responsibility to reach outside our laboratory walls, across our own borders and beyond our shores to resource and educate developing countries about the dangers of asbestos and ways to protect their people,’ said E/Professor Ken Takahashi, Institute Director.
‘Asbestos is still used widely in these regions so by delivering training in pathology, radiology, medicine, public health and nursing, we advance our mission to support the global effort to detect, diagnose and treat cases of asbestos-related disease, with particular emphasis on mesothelioma. Taking what we have learnt from our own history in Australia and sharing that knowledge is critical and urgent.’
E/ Prof. Ken Takahashi, MD PhD MPH
Director, Asbestos Diseases Research Institute
Head, WHO Collaborating Centre for Elimination of Asbestos Related Diseases