Diabetes drugs must be targeted to ensure safety

Diabetes ResearchToday is World Diabetes Day – and there’s some great work being done at the Centenary Institute to understand and treat diabetes by Associate Professor Mark Gorrell and his team of liver researchers.

New research just published in the online journal PLOS ONE has confirmed that diabetes drugs and potential cancer therapies based on regulating the dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP) family of enzymes must be carefully targeted to avoid serious side effects, such as skin and intestinal damage.

Since the 1990’s Dr Mark Gorrell has been an advocate of drug targeting to safely treat diabetes. When enzyme-inhibiting drugs to treat diabetes were being developed, Dr Gorrell warned that care was needed to ensure the drugs targeted a specific enzyme, leaving other members of the enzyme family unaffected.

Thankfully, drug companies listened to this warning despite targeting being a disputed topic.

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Fixing the body’s leaking pipes

Mirrx TherapeuticsCentenary’s discoveries lead to a commercial agreement to create drugs to fix leaking blood vessels.

Australian molecular biologists led by researchers at Centenary have made a synthetic compound that appears to allow them to control the leakiness of blood vessels. The work could lead to effective new drug treatments for strokes and tumours. Spinoffs may include an ability to reduce the side-effects of chemotherapy and inflammation.

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Centenary Institute awarded NHMRC funding to continue vital work

NHMRC National Health and Medical Research Council Grants (NHMRC) to help studies of liver and skin inflammation, sudden heart attacks, the formation of blood vessels and immune cell function and mutation.

Congratulations to all Centenary researchers who have been awarded more than $4 million in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council Grants (NHMRC) grants.

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Centenary’s Greg Fox wins top PhD prize for Vietnam TB research

Greg_FoxCongratulations to Dr Greg Fox who has won the annual Rita and John Cornforth Medal for the highest quality PhD thesis across the University of Sydney and for contributions to the University and broader community.

His PhD was completed at the Woolcock Institute in collaboration with Centenary Institute’s Tuberculosis (TB) Research Laboratory. 

For more than three years Greg, his GP wife and their young son have been living in Vietnam, where he has set up Centenary’s Vietnam studies, working on two major field projects contributing to the fight against TB.

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A human systems biology centre for Sydney

_MG_8059“We’ll be able to ask individual immune cells where they’ve been and who they’ve been talking to…”

The University of Sydney and The Centenary Institute will establish the Ramaciotti Centre for Human Systems Biology in 2014 following the announcement last night of the $1 million Ramaciotti Biomedical Research Award.

The award was made to the Centenary Institute’s Prof Barbara Fazekas de St Groth and her colleagues Prof Nicholas King, University of Sydney and Dr Adrian Smith, Centenary Institute. Prof Fazekas is also Assistant Director of the Centenary Institute.

“At the heart of the Centre will be a unique technology that will allow us to study millions of individual white blood cells and reveal where they’ve been and who they’ve been talking to,” says Prof Fazekas. Continue reading

Professors win prestigious RPA Foundation Medal

Outstanding research into bacterial skin infections has won leading clinician and Centenary Laboratory Head the shared honour of the prestigious RPA Foundation Medal – Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s, highest accolade.

Professor Wolfgang Weninger, Immune Imaging

Professor Wolfgang Weninger, Head of Immune Imaging

Professor Wolfgang Weninger, who heads up Centenary Institute’s Immune Imaging program, and Professor Paul Torzillo, RPA’s Head of Department of Respiratory Medicine – were announced joint winners, each taking home $35,000 to invest in medical and health-based research.

Dermatology expert Professor Weninger was honoured for his research into the mechanisms of skin inflammation and infection. In particular, his group is interested how the function of the skin immune system is inhibited by highly infectious bacteria and other microbes. Continue reading

Radio Interview: Prostate cancer’s Achilles’ heel uncovered

The Holst Effect‘The Holst effect’ opens up new therapeutic options for prostate cancer treatment.

A team of researchers from Sydney, Vancouver, Adelaide and Brisbane are getting closer to a new treatment for prostate cancer that relies on starving tumours of essential nutrients they need to grow.

Listen to Dr Jeff Holst talk to 6PR Radio about this latest discovery.

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Immune balance key to good health

Immune systemAt the Centenary Institute we’re learning more about the immune system to help in the fight against cancer.

Why is it that some of our individual immune systems are susceptible to particular diseases while others are protected?

Is our western lifestyle increasing chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes?

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Insight Centenary: The possibility of medical research

The possibility of what we can discover from the very fundamental research we do on chronic diseases is what makes my work really interesting.

PhD scholar Tom Guy, T cell Biology

PhD scholar Tom Guy, T cell Biology

As a child, some of my close family suffered from cancer, so when I started university I became fascinated with the study of tumour immunology. I found it intriguing that people were looking to the immune system to fight off cancer as a new form of treatment.

Now that I’m working at Centenary I’ve been able to do 
just that. I’m essentially investigating the best strategy for the immune system to stop tumour growth. I look at two cell types, CD4 T cells and B cells, and how these two cells work together to kill tumours once regulatory T cells (T regs) are switched off. T regs are the network managers of our immune system. Continue reading

2013 Centenary Institute Scientific Image Prize

Launched in 2009, the Centenary Institute Scientific Image Prize enables us to share imagery taken by our staff that directly ‘tells the story’ of our work in the most creative context.

The Eye of Sauron, Ka Ka Ting

The Eye of Sauron, Ka Ka Ting

Open to all Centenary staff, the 2013 Prize entries were judged by a panel lead by respected artist Janet Laurence and members of the Centenary Institute Faculty.

Recipients for the 2013 prize were announced at Centenary’s Annual Meeting and presented with their awards by special guest Professor Ian Frazer, who has reached international acclaim as the co-inventor of the cervical cancer vaccine (HPV) and was made the 2006 Australian of the Year. He is also a member of the Centenary Institute’s Scientific Advisory Board. Continue reading