New imaging facility to detect cancers earlier

27 May 2013

Cancer, mental disorders and neurological diseases could soon be detected earlier with cutting edge equipment available at the new $22 million Herston Imaging Research Facility (HIRF). 

The facility, based at The University of Queensland, will drive significant reform in health care delivery and place Queensland at the forefront of human imaging research, clinical trials and patient care. 

HIRF represents an alliance of four of Brisbane's leading research and clinical organisations: UQ; Metro North Hospital and Health Service through the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital; the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR); and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). 

Today marked an important milestone for HIRF, as partner representatives cemented the alliance with the signing of a formal agreement in the presence of the Queensland Minister for Health, the Honourable Lawrence Springborg MP. 

UQ President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj said HIRF had the potential to explore new pathways for improving human health. 

“This unique collaboration is an exciting step towards building a world class academic health science system that focuses on research, education and clinical care,” Professor Høj said. 

Faculty of Health Sciences Executive Dean Professor Nicholas Fisk said the facility would have a combination of molecular imaging equipment dedicated to human research, including a PET/MRI machine that provided simultaneous information on the location and function of tumours, such as those in the brain. 

“Patients will significantly benefit from the imaging research facility as it will provide opportunities for their involvement in translational research that will improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, mental health and neurological diseases,” Professor Fisk said. 

HIRF will be pivotally positioned at UQ's Centre for Clinical Research (UQCCR), between the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and QIMR, with an outpatient floor that has direct access to the referral hospital. 

HIRF complements both UQCCR and the Centre for Advanced Imaging recently opened at UQ by bringing the most advanced imaging technology to combat human disease. 

Equipment will be funded by a $3 million Queensland Government grant, in addition to Commonwealth, industry and partner contributions and a $2 million grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation. 

Media: Kirsten Rogan, Communications and Media, University of Queensland Faculty of Health Sciences, 07 3346 4713, 0412307594 or