Nedlands lung disease researcher recognised for improving healthcare for Western Australians - Institute for Respiratory Health

Nedlands lung disease researcher recognised for improving healthcare for Western Australians

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 | Research

A Nedlands lung disease researcher from the Institute for Respiratory Health has been awarded one of the most prestigious respiratory accolades in recognition of his continued outstanding contribution to lung medicine and science. 

Professor Gary Lee was awarded The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand’s Research Medal at their annual meeting in Perth recently.

Professor Lee is regarded as the world leader in pleural medicine and research. An area of his research has focused on the build-up of fluid in the chest, which affects more than 90,000 Australians a year most commonly caused by cancer, infection or heart failure. 

Over 8,000 cancer patients in Australia, especially those with lung and breast cancers, suffer from this fluid build-up which causes disabling breathlessness and often requires repeated invasive procedures to drain it.

Professor Lee has introduced many state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment methods that significantly reduce the need for invasive practices, such as new intrapleural therapy that now cures 95 per cent of patients with pleural infection (‘pleurisy’) without surgery. And a new drainage device (called the indwelling pleural catheter) for cancer pleural effusions that allows patients to drain their fluid at home if and when they become breathless.

“It’s a huge honour to receive this award,” said Professor Lee.

“It recognises the efforts of my hardworking and dedicated team of research fellows and collaborators who have contributed to these advances for people with lung disease.”

Professor Lee’s pleural program at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital has trained over 20 clinicians from nine countries to become the next-generation pleural specialists. 

Professor Lee splits his time between working as a researcher at the Institute for Respiratory Health, professor of respiratory medicine at UWA and as a lung specialist at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

Professor Lee follows in the footsteps of the Institute’s Professor Bruce Robinson and former Director of the Institute Professor Phil Thompson in receiving the esteemed accolade.