Perth building identity Dale Alcock’s personal loss has been marked with a generous donation that will enable cutting edge genomic research into the mesothelioma.

The building industry loses members to mesothelioma at a tragic rate.

Often caused by exposure to asbestos, this rare cancer can take decades to develop and experts believe the number of people diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases will not peak until 2020. Australia has one of the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world.

The Housing Industry Association Charitable Foundation and construction and property finance group Alcock-Brown-Neaves recently presented a $375,000 cheque to The University of Western Australia affiliated National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases (NCARD) for research into the disease. WA Charity Direct provided an additional $25,000.

Before he went on to co-found the Alcock-Brown-Neaves Group, Dale Alcock’s family owned a building company and hardware supplier in the West Australian Wheatbelt town of Kellerberrin.

Mr Alcock’s father Dennis, a bricklayer and builder like himself, died three years ago from mesothelioma.

NCARD Senior Researcher Dr Jenette Creaney said the funding would support a joint project by the National Centre for Asbestos Related Disease and the Queensland Centre for Medical Genomics.

It will determine the changes that have occurred in the sequence of over three billion DNA building blocks that make up a person’s genetic blueprint, which have resulted in cancer.

“All cancers arise because of alterations in a person’s DNA. New sequencing technologies provide an opportunity to examine the genetic make-up of mesothelioma at an unprecedented level,” Dr Creaney said.

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