Wilson Centre for Blood Cancer Genomics

The Wilson family has extended their generous philanthropic donation to the Snowdome Foundation. They have added $3.5 million for our Wilson Centre for Blood Cancer Genomics

This donation to the Wilson Centre is the philanthropic family’s second major gift. The Wilsons announced a major gift of $5.5 million to set up the Centre in 2017. The Wilson family have now donated more than $9 million to the Snowdome Foundation. This foundation provides Australian blood cancer patients with access to genomic testing. This testing gives a more exact diagnosis to decide the best course of treatment.  

Blood cancers include leukaemia, myeloma, and lymphoma. These can affect anyone regardless of age, health or gender. We can’t prevent it, so we need to find better ways to treat it. Genomic testing is the first step. It helps us find a better and personalised way to treat these cancers.  

The Wilson Centre for Blood Cancer Genomics has supplied free genomic testing. This has added up to 4000 patients from across Australia in four years. They have also supported Fellowships and research collaborations. This support has resulted in world-first breakthroughs. Such breakthroughs help us better understand blood cancer treatment resistance.  

Ash is one of our patients who has benefited from genomic testing. Ash saw his doctor about tiredness and fevers as a 25-year-old. This resulted in Ash getting a blood test. His doctor told him to head straight to emergency. There they diagnosed him with aggressive leukaemia and started chemotherapy at once. We were preparing him for a bone marrow transplant. This is a treatment that usually delivers the best outcome for his type of leukaemia. It carries a 10 per cent risk of death, though. 

Ash underwent sophisticated molecular testing. This involved the Wilson Centre taking a blood cancer sample, which changed his treatment. The genomic testing confirmed his cancer was a rare subtype. This subtype usually responds well to chemotherapy alone. Ash could then forgo a bone marrow transplant and the related risk with close monitoring.  

Ash is now in remission. His treatment pathway serves as an example of world class personalised medicine. “I am very grateful to the Wilson family for their generosity. My genomic test saved me from a gruelling bone marrow transplant and may have saved my life,” Ash says.  

Dr David Westerman is our Head of Haematopathology. David says: “Advances in technology and research have brought about remarkable changes. These changes decide the way we diagnose and then treat blood cancer. Understanding the molecular characteristics of a tumour is the foundation for patient care”.  

“We can now look at the genetic makeup of a person’s cancer and choose a treatment that matches. The generosity of the Wilson Family has accelerated these advances.”  

Pennie Callaghan is from the Wilson Family. She says: “My parents wanted to make a meaningful impact to blood cancer patients. They donated $5.5 million to the Snowdome Foundation. This created the Wilson Centre for Blood Cancer Genomics.  

“As a family, we want to continue to help Australians affected by blood cancer. World class research, diagnostic testing and educational opportunities come through the genomic centre. These all lead to lives being saved.  

“Philanthropy is critical. They help us continue our search for better blood cancer patient treatment options. We also hope this gift might inspire others to invest in this way. Such investments would give the Centre long term sustainability.”  

Kirstee Macbeth is Chief Executive of the Snowdome Foundation. Kirstee said: “We know what a remarkable place the Wilson Centre is. It is one committed to faster and more effective outcomes that have had a real and measurable impact. It undertakes complex diagnostic testing, translational research and educative opportunities. These give patients the best chance to get treatment for their specific cancer.  

“We are proud and honoured to work together with the Wilson family and Peter Mac. Together we are ensuring that blood cancers become manageable conditions”. 


Snowdome Foundation is a not for profit. It raises funds to support translational research into blood cancers. This research accelerates next-generation treatments for Australian patients. Such treatment helps them live longer, better lives. Research into finding better treatments and a cure for blood cancers is still needed. The Snowdome Foundation is advancing the world’s best blood cancer research. This research will help paediatric and adult patients with lymphoma, myeloma, and leukaemia.