Smart cabinet keeping cancer researchers safe

17 Sep 2020
Smart cabinet keeping cancer researchers safe

Continuing support from the Australian Hotels Association of South Australia is helping keep SAHMRI’s cancer researchers safe as they search for treatments for the deadly disease. 

The AHA|SA has donated two cytotoxic safety cabinets to protect researchers as they work with potentially dangerous chemicals, while simultaneously protecting the chemicals from external contamination.

AHA|SA President David Basheer says his organisation is proud to use its Hotel Care program to provide vital infrastructure for SAHMRI’s world-class research.

“This equipment is assisting in ground-breaking medical research as part of the world-class facilities at SAHMRI,” he said.

“The SA Hotel Industry understands the importance of giving back. Hotel Care has poured more than $10 million back into the community since its inception. This particular donation will enable greater outcomes for patients. It’s a cause we’re proud to support.” 

SAHMRI Research Infrastructure Manager, Yi Ng, says the institute hasn’t previously had a cytotoxic safety cabinet on-site.

“Cytotoxic drugs are designed to damage or kill cells so obviously researchers need to be extremely careful when handling them,” Mr Ng said.

“Without these cabinets our researchers would be at long-term risk from potential exposure to cytotoxic drugs, and the effects of that might not present for several years.

“The safety cabinets have an air barrier that protects the researcher from airborne particles. They also have high efficiency particulate air filters that purify both incoming and exhaust air so expensive chemicals aren’t contaminated during the handling process.”

The cabinets are housed in SAHMRI’s basement so they’re close to the hazardous materials storage area where cytotoxic drugs are kept. The equipment is aiding research from basic science to preclinical and clinical trials.

The AHA(SA) Hotel Care program has been running since 1995, supporting not-for-profit organisations, charities and disadvantaged groups. 

SAHMRI Executive Director, Professor Steve Wesselingh, thanked the AHA|SA for its ongoing support.

“As an independent organisation, we rely on corporate and philanthropic backing to perform our life-saving research,” he said.

“The association has previously provided us with infrastructure to facilitate data research and now this contribution will enable research gains across a range of cancers for the broad benefit of our community."