The $87.5 million Translational Research Facility is set to open in October housing scientists from Monash Health, Monash University and the Hudson Institute of Medical Research.

JULIA RABAR WAVERLEY LEADER AUGUST 05, 2015 12:00AM

Image: Professor Bryan Williams, director of Hudson Institute of Medical Research, and Elizabeth Ibrihim, 3, at the soon-to-be finished Translational Research Facility at the Monash Medical Centre. Picture: Susan Windmiller.

LITTLE ray of sunshine Elizabeth was among the first to walk through the colourful walkway to the almost finished Translational Research Facility at Monash Medical Centre this week.

The $87.5 million facility is set to open in October and will house scientists from Monash Health, Monash University and the Hudson Institute of Medical Research.

The new building has space for eight beds and 21 chairs in its clinical trials area, to be used by patients like three-year-old Elizabeth.

Image: Light streams through the large open spaces of the new centre. Picture: Susan Windmiller.

Image: Dr Ron Firestein, left, head of cancer research with Professor Bryan Williams, Director of Hudson Institute of Medical Research at the soon-to-be finished Translational Research Facility. Picture: Susan Windmiller.

Elizabeth is no stranger to hospitals, having been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia last May.

Elizabeth’s mother Natalie Ibrihim, of Croydon, said spending time on the ward with other families of sick children had made her treasure every moment.

“It makes you appreciate life more and rethink your priorities,” Mrs Ibrihim said.

Mrs Ibrihim said Elizabeth, who is on the mend, had been involved in several clinical trials that had involved donating extra blood or cells for research.

Mrs Ibrihim said she and her husband, Travis, figured they had benefited from other families doing trials in the past, so it made sense to continue paying forward.

“And when you’re in a place with a nice ambience about it, even when you’re going through a lot of heavy things medically, it’s good for your soul,” Mrs Ibrihim said.

Hudson Institute director Professor Bryan Williams said many patients didn’t participate in clinical trials for their own benefit, but to help the next patients coming along.

Incoming Head of Cancer Research Dr Ron Firestein, who arrived from the US last week, said he was excited about the proximity of clinicians and scientists in the new building.

“The fact the patients are physically going to be in this building is a very important reminder that we are focusing on patient care,” Dr Firestein said.

The new Translational Research Facility will also have a secure laboratory for pharmacists to generate cancer chemotherapeutics and other drugs, and solar panels to power 6-8 per cent of the building’s lighting needs.

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