The State Government has committed more than $40 million to build a new, “world-class” research hub in the state - to be known as SAHMRI 2 - which will offer the nation’s first cutting-edge therapy for cancer patients.
It has budgeted $44 million for the proposed $280 million project on North Tce, which will sit next to the current state-of-the-art SAHMRI building, and is spending $500,000 to prepare the site for redevelopment.
In its submission to the Federal Government, the State Government has presented a strong case to build a second research hub, saying SAHMRI 2 would continue the state’s success as a leader in biomedical and health sciences.
Another $176 million is needed from the Federal Government to complete the project. Flinders University, a major partner in the centre, has committed $60 million.
The proposed centre, to be named the John Chalmers Centre for Transforming Healthcare after Flinders University Emeritus Professor John Chalmers, would house 500 researchers over 12 levels and create about 1000 jobs during construction.
The building’s centrepiece would be the nation’s first proton therapy unit, an $80 million machine delivering cancer-destroying protons to the tumour site of otherwise inoperable cancers, without affecting healthy tissues.
Currently, the treatment is only available overseas.
Premier Jay Weatherill told The Advertiser a second research hub would “increase the already significant international profile of SAHMRI”.
“It would also provide much needed facilities to help research and treat people with rare forms of cancer,” he said.
“It would attract world-leaders in this space as well as giving Flinders University a significant presence in the Biomedical and Health Precinct.”
Mr Weatherill said he had discussed the proposal with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during his recent Adelaide visit.
“I have previously written to the Prime Minister about this project and since have had further talks with Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne,” he said.
Mr Pyne said he had been “working closely with the SAHMRI 2 proponents and within the government to see what support might be forthcoming for the initiative”.
SAHMRI’s world-leading research is centred on seven themes, including Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children. Research within this theme has already led to important discoveries like how taking fish oil can delay birth, meaning fewer premature babies.
First-time mother Mel Teelow, of Largs Bay, is optimistic about the future for her baby William, as staff at SAHMRI find “new cures and preventions for diseases”.