Pleural Medicine - Institute for Respiratory Health

Pleural Medicine


Each year more than 60,000 people are affected by pleural disease in Australia.

Pleural malignancies and infections are the commonest causes of exudative pleural effusions, and their incidence, mortality and healthcare costs continue to rise.

Established in 2009, the Pleural Medicine Unit is led by Professor Gary Lee, one of the top clinical academics in pleural research. The Unit is regarded as one of the most active pleural research groups in the world. The group uniquely combines both clinical and laboratory staff and is closely integrated with the most active tertiary pleural services in Australia.

The program focuses on translational research in common pleural diseases. Especially cancer and infection, with a strong publication record on clinical (phase I to multicentre randomised trials) and bench research (molecular biology to animal models). As well as novel diagnostic and management strategies for pleural effusions.

Much of the research work has directly impacted clinical practice and helped reduce patient mortality and morbidity in malignant effusion. For example, setting up of the indwelling catheter services in Western Australia and pleural infection such as the introduction of the new intrapleural therapy.

Current research projects

  • The role of fibroblast growth factor 9 (FGF9)
  • Nutritional status in mesothelioma
  • Exercise as a therapeutic tool in the management of mesothelioma
  • Pleural Effusion and Symptom Evaluation Study (PLEASE)
  • Bacterial growth in pleural fluid.

Unit highlights

The Pleural Medicine team have several highlights for 2017/18. These include:

  • Prof Gary Lee awarded the WA Cancer Researcher of the Year for 2019
  • The Practitioner Fellowship, Medical Research Future Fund Next Generation Clinical    Researcher Program awarded to Prof Gary Lee
  • NHMRC Early Career Development Fellowship awarded to Dr Ed Fysh.
  • Dr Sally Lansley awarded the iCARE Dust Diseases Board Fellowship.

Top publications

Our People
The Pleural Medicine Group is made up of a multi-disciplinary team of doctors, scientists, nurses, physiotherapists and allied health staff.

Help us continue our vital research by making a donation today.