Professor Warwick Britton
- Should TB patients be quarantined in hospital or treated at home?
- What are the legal and ethical implications?
- How can the newest TB drugs best be managed to avoid triggering resistance in TB bacteria?
- What are the most effective ways of using the latest genomic techniques and information to combat TB?
These are just some of the questions that are becoming ever more critical as extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB looms on Australia’s horizon—it’s already in Papua New Guinea. They are also examples of the issues to be discussed on Thursday 2 May and Friday 3 May at the first symposium of the new NHMRC-funded Centre of Research Excellence in Tuberculosis Control, located at the Centenary Institute.
Nobel Laureate Professor Rolf Zinkernagel engaged in a dynamic round table discussion with Centenary Institute scientists this morning.
Professor Rolf Zinkernagel at the Centenary Institute
Professor Zinkernagel – Professor Emeritus of The University of Zurich, Switzerland – is the 1996 Nobel Laureate (with Professor Peter Doherty) in Medicine “for research on the biochemical mechanism with which the immune system recognises and destroys virus-infected cells”.
Five of Centenary’s scientists were excited to have the privilege of presenting and discussing their latest immunologically based research to their peers and the internationally renowned superstar of the scientific and medical world. Continue reading
Professor McCaughan believes you should “love your liver”.
The deadly exponential effect of the combination of obesity and alcohol, can increase the likelihood of liver disease in women, a new study has found.
Professor Geoff McCaughan, head of Centenary Institute’s Liver Injury and Cancer group, has recently commented on the findings of a new study that found overweight women who drink regularly, have a much higher risk of liver disease. Frighteningly, researchers believe these findings could also apply to men.
The research was based on a study of more than 107,000 UK women, which showed that the chance of developing liver disease is increased by both drinking and being overweight. However, when these factors were combined, the women in the study were three times more likely to develop liver disease.
Sydney researchers have discovered a new type of immune cell in skin that plays a role in fighting off parasitic invaders such as ticks, mites, and worms, and could be linked to eczema and allergic skin diseases.
The team from the Immune Imaging and T cell Laboratories at the Centenary Institute worked with colleagues from SA Pathology in Adelaide, the Malaghan Institute in Wellington, New Zealand and the USA.
The new cell type is part of a family known as group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2) which was discovered less than five years ago in the gut and the lung, where it has been linked to asthma. But this is the first time such cells have been found in the skin, and they are relatively more numerous there.
“Our data show that these skin ILC2 cells are likely to supress or stimulate inflammation under different conditions,” says Dr Ben Roediger, a research officer in the Immune Imaging Laboratory at Centenary headed by Professor Wolfgang Weninger. “They also suggest a potential link to allergic skin diseases.” Continue reading
Real-time social phenomenon, Twitter, can be a powerful tool to help prevent heart disease and improve health practices, according to a group of researchers affiliated with the University of Sydney.
[Image: Flickr/MDGovpics, used under the Creative Commons licence]
Their study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, surveying 15 international health-focused Twitter accounts, nine professional organisations and six medical journals, were selected for analysis of their Twitter growth, reach, and content.
The study showed that, through its inherent networking, social media sites like Twitter have the potential to enhance education, awareness and overall management of cardiovascular disease.
On the 10th of April, the Centenary Institute and The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA, will be hosting a luncheon at Wildfire to announce the formation of, and raise funds for, the Centenary – Lifehouse Cancer Research Centre.
The development of the Centenary/Lifehouse Cancer Research Centre completes the formation of a comprehensive centre that will be of huge benefit to many generations and is generously supported by the Australian Cancer Research Foundation and the University of Sydney.
Me and my Dad.
I was seven weeks old when my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. It was just a tiny lump in his neck. They had just taken it out, and discovered it was a malignant adenocarcinoma of the parotid salivary gland. This is a very slow type of cancer, which in a way is fortunate, because I did get to know my Dad. They had to go back in and remove more tissue, and in doing so the nerve to the right side of his face was damaged. This meant his face drooped a little on the right side. To me this was just the way my Dad looked, but he always turned his right side away in photographs.
A community-wide screening program being trialled in Vietnam aims to create a new model for global TB control
In the 1950s and 1960s Australians were accustomed to having regular chest x-rays in a caravan, parked in their suburb, to screen for TB. During this time TB almost (but not quite) disappeared from Australia and the program was phased out.
Centre of Research Excellence on TB Control: (Back left) Dr James Wood; Professor Warwick Britton; Associate Professor Ben Marais; Associate Professor Jamie Triccas; Dr Carl Feng. (Front left) Professor Guy Marks; Professor Lyn Gilbert; Dr Gabriella Scandurra.
Now Australian researchers from the Centenary Institute, Woolcock Institute of Medical Research and the Centre of Research Excellence on TB Control will assess the potential for a similar program of regular community-wide screening to have the same impact on TB in Vietnam, a country in which TB is still very common and costs many lives. However, instead of x-rays the team will use a new molecular test that is performed on sputum coughed up from patient’s lungs to detect TB.
They hope their work will serve as a model for countries with a high burden of TB in our region and elsewhere.