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

How ‘junk DNA’ can control cell development

Centenary Institute Cell

Cell is regarded as one of the most prestigious journal to publish in.

Researchers from the Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Program at Sydney’s Centenary Institute have confirmed that, far from being “junk”, the 97 per cent of human DNA that does not encode instructions for making proteins can play a significant role in controlling cell development.

And in doing so, the researchers have unravelled a previously unknown mechanism for regulating the activity of genes, increasing our understanding of the way cells develop and opening the way to new possibilities for therapy.

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Hope for Hep C cure: No excuse for risk-taking, expert warns

Professor Geoff McCaughan

Exciting early indications of a cure for Hepatitis C do not mean we should become complacent about the risks of contracting the debilitating disease, a leading Australian researcher warns.

Professor Geoff McCaughan, right, head of the Liver Immunobiology Program at Sydney’s Centenary Institute of medical research, says preliminary results of a newly developed oral treatment regime for liver transplant patients with Hepatitis C were showing promising results.

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International award for Centenary stalwart

Liver DiseaseCongratulations to Professor Geoff McCaughan the head of Centenary’s Liver Injury and Cancer research program and director of the Australian National Liver Transplant Unit at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital who has won this year’s Distinguished Service Award of the International Liver Transplantation Society (ILTS).

The award was presented today at ILTS’s International Conference held in Sydney and has been presented annually since 1993 to a member of the Society who has demonstrated outstanding service to ILTS and is a recognized leader in the area of liver transplantation. The list reads like a Who’s Who of transplantation.

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Insight Centenary: The underestimated burden of skin disease.

Skin diseasesAn interview with Dr Philip Tong, PhD scholar in Immune Imaging.

Centenary Institute: “What is it about dermatology and skin research that interests you?”

Dr Philip Tong: “People need to appreciate their skin… it is our largest organ. It’s important that people don’t underestimate the enormous burden of skin disease.

I was drawn to dermatology by chance. My father had an itchy skin condition on his neck that was related to stress. I remember him telling me how much it affected him.

After he’d seen a dermatologist, I could see changes, I could see him getting better – and it was this that compelled me to study skin diseases.

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Centenary scientist named “lab legend” by The Australian

In South-East Asia alone, 130 million people carry the hepatitis virus – a statistic well known to Centenary liver scientist, Dr Thomas Tu, whose family members have been affected by the disease.

Vietnam 2010 600 (2)In an article by The Australian today, Dr Tu explains, “seeing people with the disease has been a driver in keeping me passionate about my research. Family members have contracted the disease, but no one talks about it. They are worried about telling workmates because of the stigma.”

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Skin Diseases – Immune Imaging team plays a major part in International Conference

Skin Diseases

The International Investigative Dermatology Conference was held in Edinburgh, Scotland, this year.

Skin diseases are a global problem. In order to gain a better understanding of skin cancer, eczema and skin infections, it requires international collaboration.

Earlier this month, several members of Centenary’s Immune Imaging laboratory attended the International Investigative Dermatology (IID) meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Nobel Laureate Professor Rolf Zinkernagel visits Centenary

Nobel Laureate Professor Rolf Zinkernagel engaged in a dynamic round table discussion with Centenary Institute scientists this morning.

Professor Rolf Zinkernagel

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