The founding champion for the emergence of Lighthouse Laboratories is Graeme Tucker. Motivated by a family member being touched by child cancer neuroblastoma, Graeme re-entered education to transition his trade/engineering skills to the scientific fields of cell biology and neuroscience – Notably in order to pursue a personal quest to resolve the neuroblastoma problem. Mindful of relapse risk and concern for others touched by neuroblastoma, Graeme felt strongly about changing the poor prognostic status quo for those at risk. In conjunction with a steep learning curve that he put himself on, Graeme’s attention was drawn to the spontaneous regression phenomenon associated with neuroblastoma. Alluding, understanding and exploiting the biology responsible for this phenomenon (Nature’s show case for a cure) seemed a logical path for research inquiry; however, few were on that path.
At the time of Lighthouse Laboratories foundation there was no basic neuroblastoma research being undertaken in Western Australia. This is not to say that the facility was created solely for one individual; the entity was established as a platform for all, i.e. to engage in other research themes and to create opportunities for additional research associates.
In shaping Lighthouse, there was was no desire to gain from the suffering of another; as such, a not for profit identity was taken on. Over the years Graeme has donated circa twenty thousand unpaid voluntary hours and considerable personal funds (mortgage size). His position with Lighthouse is formerly as Executive Chairman and Scientific Director. Aside from his director role Graeme is employed as the Chief Executive Officer and is remunerated as such – However, please note, Graeme has frequently forfeited his income as a donation or temporary loan in order to aid Lighthouse.
The recruitment of additional people and skill sets has always been central to planning and development. However, in doing so Graeme gave consideration to his personal choice to refrain from animal related research studies. Not wanting to aid and abet other research workers to engage in animal studies Graeme chose to adopt a novel identity for Lighthouse with a constitutional policy for animal free medical research. In some respects the policy represented a niche opportunity to obtain support from those that shy a way from supporting mainstream existing research bodies; entities which appeared to have the monopoly/control on research and funding matters. The policy also aided presence in terms of endorsement/licencing as Lighthouse tried to argue that our services were not duplicating another – Particularly, it was argued that the public and the researcher had not had the means nor choice to be able to support or partake in animal free medical research. Our message coupled to choice and example was to not be derogatory nor confrontational to those engaged in animal studies; if anything the tact sought to avoid confrontation in terms of scientific/ethical debate.