26 Jun 2015

Photo of the week: Ting/Curtis stem cell research group

March 2015. Stem cell research group. L-R Front row: Ms Shilpa Beeraka (Research Assistant), Ms Sarah Ghotb (Research Assistant), Dr Stefan Sonderegger (Research Officer), Dr Emma Toulmin (Research Officer), Dr Sara Rhost (Research Officer)
L-R standing: Ms Jacqueline Boyle (Honours student), Mr Andrej Terzic (Honours student), Ms Ashlee Conway (PhD student), Dr Stephen Ting (Group Leader), Ms Loretta Cerruti (Research Assistant), Ms Bonnie Dopheide (Laboratory Operations Officer), Dr Cedric Tremblay (Research Officer) , A/Prof David Curtis (Group Leader), Ms Jesslyn Saw (Research Assistant), Miss Denise Doan (Honours student), Dr Sung Kai Chui (PhD student), Dr Victoria Ling (PhD student) 

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Forthcoming CCS events: Seminars, public events, general notices

Central Clinical School has regular seminar series and postgraduate presentations. All event notices are maintained on the CCS Events calendar.

CCS staff & students can see details of both public and local events (including professional development courses, trade fairs and Graduate Research Student calendars) and deadlines, at the Intranet's Announcements page.

Various Departments have their own calendars, see CCS seminar index: www.med.monash.edu.au/cecs/events/seminars.html

What's on for this week: 29 Jun- 03 Jul 2015

Mon Jun 29 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM Psychiatry Professorial Grand Round
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Deadline: AXM Logo Competition Entries

In the Future

24 Jun 2015

9 Oct: Save the Date! CCS Public lecture by Prof Jayashri Kulkarni on women's mental health

Professor Jayashri Kulkarni
Central Clinical School hosts an annual public lecture. This year, it's timed to be part of Mental Health Week, and is taking place on 9 October 2015. Our speaker will be Professor Jayashri Kulkarni, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Monash Alfred Psychiatry research centre in CCS and the Alfred. Her topic will be: "Women's mental health: It's getting tougher". See more:

Improving wound treatment with tissue-engineered composite skin

The Skin Tissue Culture Laboratory group, Alfred and Monash.
L-R: Dr Marisa Herson, Dr Shiva Akbarzadeh, Ms Michelle
Paul, Ms Heather Cleland, Director Victorian Adult Burns
Service (VABS); Ms Lipi Shukla, PhD student
Tissue-engineered composite skin is a promising therapy for treatment of chronic and acute wounds, including burns. Providing the wound bed with a dermal scaffold populated by autologous dermal and epidermal cellular components can further entice host cell infiltration and vascularisation to achieve permanent wound closure in a single-stage.

23 Jun 2015

Brain scaffolding cell development

Radial glia. Image: Götz group
Radial glial cells are the neural progenitors of the developing CNS and have long radial processes that guide radially migrating neurons. The integrity of the radial glial scaffold, in particular proper adhesion between the endfeet of radial processes and the pial basement membrane (BM), is important for the cellular organization of the central nervous system (CNS), as indicated by evidence emerging from the developing cortex. The study unravels a novel molecular mechanism that deploys CXCL12/CXCR4/CXCR7 for the maintenance of radial glial scaffold integrity, which in turn safeguards the CNS/PNS boundary during spinal cord development.

Reference: Zhu Y, Matsumoto T, Nagasawa T, Mackay F, Murakami F. Chemokine signaling controls integrity of radial glial scaffold in developing spinal cord and consequential proper position of boundary cap cells. J Neurosci. 2015 Jun 17;35(24):9211-24. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0156-15.2015.

Gene mutations in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL)

Image: American Society of Hematology
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is a malignancy of T-cell progenitors, with overall survival rates of 70% in children and <40% in adults. The majority of T-ALL cases harbour activating mutations in NOTCH1, which encodes a membrane-spanning receptor essential for lineage commitment and development of T-lymphocytes. Activating NOTCH1 mutations occur in ~60% of human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias (T-ALLs), and mutations disrupting the transcription factor IKZF1 (IKAROS) occur in ~5% of cases. These results demonstrate for the first time that aberrant NOTCH activity compromises IKAROS function in mouse and human T-ALL, and provide a potential explanation for the relative infrequency of IKAROS gene mutations in human T-ALL.

Reference: Witkowski MT, Cimmino L, Hu Y, Trimarchi T, Tagoh H, McKenzie MD, Best SA, Tuohey L, Willson TA, Nutt SL, Busslinger M, Aifantis I, Smyth GK, Dickins RA. Activated Notch counteracts Ikaros tumor suppression in mouse and human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Leukemia. 2015 Jun;29(6):1301-11. doi: 10.1038/leu.2015.27. Epub 2015 Feb 6.

Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission cascade in China

Image: Impatient Optimists
Effective prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV can reduce the vertical transmission risk from 15%–45% to below 5% in breastfeeding populations and below 2% in non-breastfeeding populations.1–3 The 2013 WHO guidelines recommend that all HIV-positive pregnant and breastfeeding women start antiretroviral therapy (ART) as early as during 14 weeks of pregnancy and continue lifelong treatment if resources are available particularly in generalised epidemics.

An enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) program for hip and knee arthroplasty

Knee arthroplasty. Image: www.jaaos.org
Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of pain and disability among the elderly and affects 15% of the population. Despite a range of treatments for osteoarthritis (OA), joint replacement remains the main treatment option for patients in whom the disease has progressed. The researchers aimed to assess the extent to which a predefined enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) program for orthopaedic surgical patients could be achieved, and to evaluate improvements in quality of care and patient outcome across three public hospitals in Victoria. They found that a multidisciplinary ERAS program could be successfully implemented in elective joint arthroplasty, leading to a shorter duration of hospital stay, and they recommend this orthopaedic ERAS pathway.

Reference: Christelis N, Wallace S, Sage CE, Babitu U, Liew S, Dugal J, Nyulasi I, Mutalima N, Tran T, Myles PS. An enhanced recovery after surgery program for hip and knee arthroplasty. Med J Aust. 2015 Apr 20;202(7):363-8.

Review: Cell-based therapies for lumbar degenerative disc disease

Low back pain and degenerative disc disease are a significant cause of pain and disability worldwide. This paper systematically reviews the current status of basic science studies, preclinical and clinical trials utilising cell-based therapies to repair the degenerate intervertebral disc, and discusses the mechanism of action of transplanted cells, as well as the limitations of published studies.

Participants sought: Can constipation be treated with gentle electrical stimulation?

If TES works for children, it might
work for adults as well.
We are investigating a new treatment for constipation called trans-abdominal electrical stimulation (TES) which involves placing four (4) sticky electrodes on the stomach and back where a gentle current passes between them. This has been shown to work in studies with children. We want to see if it works in adults as well. It involves using the device at home for an hour a day for 6 weeks. To be eligible, you must be female, aged between 18 and 75, have had constipation for more than 6 months, and live in Melbourne.

Contact: Mrs Judy Moore, PhD candidate
Email: judith.moore@monash.edu ph (03) 9903 0233
Study: ccs-clin-trials.med.monash.edu.au/trials/testing-effectiveness-type-electrical-stimulation-abdomen-treating-constipation-women

Fundraiser for cancer services: Prof Harshal Nandurkar goes 'dry' for a good cause

The 'Dry July' fundraiser challenges you to go booze-free while raising money to improve the wellbeing of adults living with cancer. Prof Harshal Nandurkar, new Head of the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, and about whose drinking habits this blog editor knows nothing, has signed up for the dry month. Regardless of how much money Harshal raises, his liver will have a holiday, but in any event, please give generously!

22 Jun 2015

NHMRC public consultation on the Clinical Trial Ready initiative - closes 26 June 2015

NHMRC public consultation on the Clinical Trial Ready initiative
Closing Date: Friday, 26 June 2015 - 5:00pm

Clinical Trials Ready aims to recognise clinical trial sites that are ‘ready, willing and able’ to carry out high quality clinical trials.  The consultation focuses on both the concept of the initiative, and proposed criteria by which a clinical trials site might be recognised.   
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