Muscular Dystrophy Research 1982 to present
Muscular Dystrophy Research
Professors Steve Wilton and Sue Fletcher
The Muscular Dystrophy Rotary Appeal spearheaded by the West Perth Club in 1969 resulted in the Muscular Dystrophy Association of WA and the establishment of the Australian Neuromuscular Research Institute ( ANRI ) in 1982, now known as the West Australian Neuroscience Institute WANRI
The community of WA has benefited enormously from this through services to patients and their families with neuromuscular disorders. A carrier detection and genetic counseling program was mounted for the worst type of muscular dystrophy the Duchenne form, which is transmitted unknowingly by the mother. This program resulted in two thirds reduction in the incidence of the disorder.
There have been a very large number of significant advances in neuromuscular disease research undertaken by institute scientists over the years including the evaluation of a curative treatment for muscular dystrophy based on DNA technology undertaken by Rotarian Steve Wilton and his group, a project which has received many national and international awards.
All of this work was initiated by the discovery by Byron Kakulas that muscle was able to completely regenerate when the cause of its breakdown was removed. This breakthrough was first achieved in the Rottnest Island Quokka and it revolutionized world research in the field.
The scientific / medical potential of this discovery was recognized by the Rotary Club of West Perth when first told about it in 1967 and the benefits which have accrued since then have been far greater than may have been normally expected.
The Rotary Club of West Perth is justifiably proud of these research achievements which it has sponsored and supported for more than 40 years.
Professor Byron Kakulas and Prime Minister Bob Hawke