Mater puts Springfield under the microscope for gut disease

Monday 27 June 2022

Donations to Mater Foundation have enabled ground-breaking research into whether specially-designed therapeutic drugs can heal gut inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s disease, Coeliac disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

A $100,000 Springfield Health City Research Grant to Mater Foundation has enabled Associate Professor Sumaira Hasnain to launch a study into whether specially designed therapeutic drugs can help heal people with the conditions.

The vital research shows how generous donations lead to better health outcomes for Queenslanders – and this Wednesday every dollar donated to Mater Foundation will be tripled as part of Mater’s annual Giving Day.

The 24-hour fundraiser will help fund new medical equipment and services at the not-for-profit healthcare provider, as well as world-leading research projects such as Associate Professor Hasnain’s study.

“We’re working to design therapeutics that can specifically target the gut in the treatment of a broad range of disease and conditions that contribute to what’s known as leaky gut or a breakdown of your gut,” said Associate Professor Hasnain, who leads Mater Research’s Immunopathology Research Group.

“Leaky gut is commonly associated with gut inflammatory diseases that result in bacteria floating around in the body and blood, which contributes to health flares or exacerbates an existing chronic illness.

“Our aim is for the therapeutic drugs we are developing to target the key organs in the body that are subject to inflammatory diseases and apply a whole-body approach to healing.

“If we can stop this initial attack on the intestine or gut, we can make strides in addressing a large volume of secondary complications that are seen in chronic diseases.”

Gut inflammatory diseases affect younger people, aged from 5 - 49 years, with 1 in 100 Australians suffering from the condition.

With the median age of Springfield residents being 30 years, Associate Professor Hasnain said up to 300 people within the community would directly benefit from the research, though the goal was to apply the findings nationally.

Mater Foundation Executive Director Andrew Thomas said Wednesday’s Giving Day was a chance to give Mater’s not-for-profit research and healthcare a massive fund-raising boost.

“Mater Giving Day is a 24-hour fundraiser where generous donations made to Mater Foundation will be matched and tripled by donors,” Mr Thomas said.

“The funds raised contribute to the improvement of patient healthcare and services at Mater’s facilities, and this study by Mater Research is a great example of how we are always innovating to address unmet needs in our community and deliver best healthcare practice.

“Whether you dig deep or give a little, every contribution makes a difference and extends the services and supports offered at Mater.”

Find more information on Giving Day 2022 here.