Bruce was moved by the hopeless situation of asbestos cancer victims in the mid-1980s. His state had the highest incidence in the world of the incurable and rapidly fatal asbestos cancer ‘mesothelioma’ due to the mining and widespread use of the deadliest asbestos fibres, crocidolite.
So he established a team that generated the first human and animal mesothelioma cell lines, the first disease models, the first in vitro drug sensitivity tests and the first immunotherapy trials in the disease, including the first to show significant benefit, recombinant alpha 2a interferon. This spurred the team to further study immunotherapy for this disease resulting in the establishment of a major national centre of research excellence (NCARD) which has since improved treatment response rates in mesothelioma patients from around 0-8% to over 45%.
The team became the acknowledged world leaders in this field.
‘“From the very beginning of my involvement in this field, it was obvious that the Australians, the Perth group in particular, were actually the world leaders in this area. Over the years, led by Bruce Robinson, they have continued to lead the way”. Steven M. Albelda, MD. Professor of Medicine. University of Pennsylvania, USA
Two boys playing in asbestos dust. Both died of mesothelioma.