25 September 2019

Lotterywest gets under the skin

You could argue we are living in the future.

In 1992 Lotterywest gave Perth Bone and Tissue Bank an establishment grant, a mere 27 years later they have the technology to 3D print replacement bone and tissue for patients in need. A 3D printer creating the shape of bones and incorporating cells into the graft may seem like the plot for a science fiction movie, however the Midland based organisation is striving to make this a reality.

PlusLife is the only not-for-profit bone and tissue bank in WA, providing donated bone and tissue to repair damage caused by tumors, trauma or other diseases, with one donor able to assist more than 60 recipients.

“At the more extreme end for example, bone and tissue donations enable children who have been diagnosed with a bone cancer and might otherwise lose a limb, the chance to save their limbs,” Professor Andrew Smith said.

A $250,000 Lotterywest grant has provided PlusLife with bio-hazard cabinets, incubators, autoclaves, fridges, freezers and a 3D printer for their research facility in Midland which will be accessible to volunteers, students and scientists.


“Thanks to the support from Lotterywest we’ve equipped this laboratory, so now we can really do some fascinating and certainly life-changing research,” Professor Smith said.

“With this equipment, we will be able to be right up there with the leaders in this field.

 “It’s a very exciting time for bone research and surgical management of diseases and conditions that have severe impacts on patients’ lives.”

Since 1992 Lotterywest has supported Pluslife with four grants with a combined total of almost $700,000 and is one example of how its grants are fostering innovative organisations who are working towards the betterment of the Western Australian community.

Plus Life is licensed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to retrieve, process and distribute donated human bone and tissue for transplant purposes. PlusLife provides this service to the community on a low cost, fee recovery basis via health funds.

Lotterywest is proud to work with communities and sectors that are developing solutions to help achieve a deeper, wider impact and a lasting community legacy.

To learn more about Lotterywest’s grants click here.