New immune cells hint at eczema cause

Dr Ben RoedigerSydney 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

Tweeting our way to heart health

Tweeting our way to heart health

[Image: Flickr/MDGovpics, used under the Creative Commons licence]

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.

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.

Continue reading

Bioinformatics: How personalised medicine is revolutionising cancer treatment and prevention

Bioinformatics

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.

Continue reading

Insight Centenary: Why I do cancer research

Why I do Cancer Research

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.

Continue reading