Sydney team hopes to reduce the burden with research-led intervention
Professor Geoff McCaughan
Liver diseases have an impact on the Australian economy 40 per cent greater than chronic kidney disease and Type 2 diabetes combined, according to a report released today.
The report estimates the annual burden of liver diseases in Australia at more than $50 billion. And yet almost all liver disease is preventable.
The Centenary Institute’s liver research unit is one of the biggest in Australia. It is also one of first in the world to try to come to grips with liver damage at its most fundamental molecular level.
Head of research into liver disease and damage at Centenary, Professor Geoff McCaughan, and his team are focusing their research on promoting liver health, and understanding how chronic liver damage can develop into liver cancer. Continue reading →
The government’s announcement for the inclusion of two new drugs to treat the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the pharmaceutical benefits scheme has been welcomed by Professor Geoff McCaughan, Head of Liver Injury and Cancer at the Centenary Institute and Head of Liver Transplant Unit, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
Professor McCaughan is a world leader in hepatitis and liver disease research
The subsidy essentially means these very expensive drugs have become more accessible for those undergoing treatment and marks the first breakthrough in a decade for treatment of this chronic condition.
Professor McCaughan said that “this is a giant leap forward in reducing the need for liver transplants in Australia and it’s a great day for patients who suffer from chronic hepatitis C in this country.
“The introduction of these drugs means that we can cure up to 75 per cent of patients with genotype 1 hepatitis C – the most common strain of the disease. Treatment time will also be cut in half for many patients, from one year to six months.”
Thomas Tu is the lastest member of our Liver Cell Biology lab
Sometimes the little scientist in me wakes up early. Catching the train, I look around and I’m surrounded by walking, talking, reading ecosystems. Crowding along the platform are sentient islands of interactions between billions of cells. Healthy environments are self-correcting, stable and all work to a common harmonious goal. Mostly, our bodies are no different: many (such as the respiratory, immune, and nervous) systems working together seamlessly. They are deeply complex; each system is composed of organs that are, in turn, made up of tissues that are composed of cells.
Professor Geoff McCaughan is at the frontier of liver transplantation.
The latest of a set of new therapies to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are so effective they could reduce the need for liver transplantation dramatically.
That’s the view of Professor Geoff McCaughan, Head of the Liver Injury and Cancer research program at the Centenary Institute, and Director of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s liver transplant program. And he has put it forward in a deliberately speculative paper on the frontiers of liver transplantation released in the Journal of Hepatology, one of the world’s most important liver publications.
Congratulations to Elizabeth Powter (Vascular Biology) and David MacDonald (Liver Immunology), who tied for first place in the class of 2012 USYD Immunology and Infectious Diseases Honours program. There were 19 students in the program this year, 9 of whom were based at the Centenary Institute.
Prof Geoff McCaughan will be speaking at world’s largest liver conference.
Research opens the advantages of organ transfer to wider groups of people, including heart patients and reformed addicts.
People on methadone programs or with certain forms of heart disease are among liver patients who could now benefit from transplantation, Professor Geoff McCaughan head of the Centenary Institute’s Liver Injury and Cancer research program will tell the world’s largest annual conference of liver specialists in Boston today.
Dr Nick Shackel, Associate Faculty, Liver Cell Biology, Liver Injury & Cancer. Photo by Kat Finch.
Dr Shackel studies the genes that are triggered when hepatitis strikes. He hopes his work will lead to a better and earlier understanding of the likely course of the disease in individual patients.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by infection with a virus. The virus types B and C that lead to chronic conditions are the most common causes of liver scarring or cirrhosis and of liver cancer. It is typically diagnosed after people visit their GPs complaining of extreme tiredness and is picked up through a routine blood test, which can even distinguish the type.
Dr Devanshi Seth, Group Leader, Alcoholic Liver Disease, Liver Injury & Cancer
Centenary’s Dr Devanshi Seth, a researcher who works in the liver lab and who also works at RPA’s Drug Health Services has given an in-depth interview about her work on heavy drinking and liver cirrhosis in the online magazine femail.com.au.
Dr Devanshi and her colleagues are soon to start testing the genes of hundreds of Sydney-siders and thousands of others across six countries with the support of the grant from the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The US government is investing $2.5 million in a Sydney-based study to determine the role of genetics in alcoholic liver disease. The study, should lead to better diagnosis and treatment of the condition – a silent epidemic that costs $3.8 billion a year in Australia alone.
An artist's impression of the finish line in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia — with Rupert Robey, Wil d'Avigdor, Ben Bradshaw and Dimitry Peisakhov.
There’s a link between driving across the Mongolian desert and liver research at the Centenary Institute. His name is Wil d’Avigdor—and next week he will exchange his role as mild-mannered Centenary PhD student studying the genetics of the hepatitis C virus for bold adventurer and member of Hard Yak, a four-man Australian taking part in the 2012 Mongol Rally team.
On Saturday 14 July Wil begins the drive of 15,000 km from London to Ulaanbaatar—risking life and limb to raise money for liver research at the Institute.
Professor Geoff McCaughan, head of Centenary’s liver program.
Prof Geoff McCaughan has an editorial in today’s Medical Journal of Australia saying that hepatitis C therapy is undergoing radical and rapid change. He predicts that within five years we will have short-duration anti-hepatitis C therapy with minimal side-effects and cure rates above 90%.
The burden of hepatitis C (HCV) associated liver failure and liver cancer is rising so these new drugs are just in time.