Clinical trial research a global challenge for Lee

Dr Lee Forman, sitting on a bench in a park setting, believes the next big discoveries in global medicine will come from universities
Dr Lee Forman believes the next big discoveries in global medicine will come from universities

A desire to be at the forefront of the next phase of global medical discovery is driving Dr Lee Forman’s commitment to the Malaria Vaccine Trial at Griffith University’s Clinical Trial Unit.

“I believe the new cures, not just for malaria but for other infectious diseases, will come from research at universities,” says Lee. “The work of the Clinical Trial Unit is tackling a global challenge and could become a global game-changer.

“Malaria infects millions and kills hundreds of thousands of people every year. We need to develop our understanding of the disease, and our expertise, and clinical trials form a vital part of that process as we work towards drug discovery, more effective treatment and a cure.

Lee grew up on the Gold Coast and achieved his Bachelor of Pharmacy from Griffith University in 2007, before completing a Master of Pharmacy. Returning to pursue a medical degree, he graduated in 2015 and is currently based at Gold Coast University Hospital.

During his study, Lee also enjoyed a professionally inspiring stint at London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, which is home to the largest HIV unit in Europe, catering for more than 5000 patients and world-leading in its research. 

“Chelsea was an important experience for me,” says Lee. “The late Freddie Mercury’s doctor was based there, although that’s just an interesting aside. The most inspiring part was the level of expertise and dedication there.”

Lee’s main medical interest has always been the fight against infectious diseases and he is excited about the work of Griffith’s CTU. With its aim to improve community healthcare and advance medical research, the CTU provides state-of-the-art facilities and professional coordination services for phase I-IV clinical trials.

Chief investigators on the Malaria Vaccine Trial are researchers from Griffith’s Institute for Glycomics, who are working alongside experienced clinicians from the GCUH. Clinical Trial Unit Director, Associate Professor Evelin Tiralongo, is one of Lee’s former School of Pharmacy lecturers.

The CTU is also conducting trials across other therapeutic areas and is always looking for healthy volunteers or patients. However, it is the malaria trial that is the subject of Lee’s research focus.

To register for the Malaria Vaccine Trial, email: glycomicstrials@griffith.edu.au

To register for trials at the Clinical Trial Unit, click here

According to the World Health Organisation, nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria. In 2015, there were roughly 212 million malaria cases and an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths. Increased prevention and control measures have led to a 29% reduction in malaria mortality rates globally since 2010.

“Progress is being made in reducing the prevalence of malaria, but there is still so much more to be done,” says Lee.

“That’s what makes it so exciting to be part of a potentially world-changing process of discovery here on the Gold Coast through the Clinical Trial Unit.

“It’s precisely this type of challenge that inspired me to go into medicine in the first place.”