Key Advances and Breakthroughs

Garvan breakthrough timeline


Garvan scientists have been able to play a major role in saving lives and changing the health of generations.  Here are some of the breakthroughs that investment in funding has enabled:

  • In 2016 we launched Australia’s first clinical whole-genome sequencing service, tripling diagnostic rates for people living with rare and genetic conditions.
  • In 2015 we discovered a group of cells believed to trigger autoimmune disease, as well as the molecular ‘trigger guard’ that normally holds them in check.
  • In 2013 we sequenced the genomes of 100 pancreatic tumours and identified new mutations that lead to pancreatic cancer. This has already resulted in life-saving treatments.
  • In 2009 we built on our finding that the brain hormone NPY regulates the synthesis of our bones suggesting new treatments for osteoporosis.
  • In 2000 we uncovered the role of abdominal fat in determining risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • From 1999 to 2005 we developed methods to culture adult nerve stem cells capable of generating new brain cells, giving hope that some neurodegenerative diseases could be reversed.
  • In 1993 we made one of the top advances in breast cancer for that decade when we discovered the role of proteins called cyclins.
  • In 1973 we developed an insulin infusion technique that has saved the lives of people in diabetic comas.

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