12 Dec 2019

Study reveals need to strengthen sexual health services for PrEP users

Dr Jason Ong, lead author
on the JAMA paper
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) – taking antiretroviral drugs to protect people from acquiring HIV infection – is revolutionising the prevention of HIV around the world. However, a global study led by Monash University in Australia and supported by the World Health Organisation has shown that people who are seeking PrEP to prevent HIV are also at high risk of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The authors of the paper argue that PrEP services could be an ideal place to test for, prevent and treat both HIV and other STIs.

11 Dec 2019

Congratulations to Dr Jess Borger on inaugural Women in Immunology award!

Dr Jessica Borger at the ASI award with 
Harriet Pope, Margaret Baird's daughter
Congratulations to Dr Jessica Borger, who has been awarded a Margaret Baird Women in Immunology Lectureship Award at the Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology (ASI) conference in Adelaide.

The award was established only this year in memory of Professor Margaret Baird who died in 2016.

Dr Borger said she was honoured by the award and looked forward to furthering Margaret's legacy of supporting women and students in immunological research.

Allergy research to fathom causes of enigmatic diseases

Dr Marcus Robinson
by Anne Crawford

Australia has among the highest allergy rates in the world – and it’s rising. According to the National Allergy Strategy, life-threatening food allergy rates have doubled in ten years and allergy deaths have increased by 42% over six years.

Immunoglobulin E (IgE), antibody produced by the immune system, is a key driver of allergic responses.

Research by Monash Research Fellow Dr Marcus Robinson, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), will drill deep to identify the sources of IgE in chronic allergic diseases. “We will combine disease-relevant allergy models and new reporter mice to work out when IgE-producing cells develop, how they develop, and how their lifespan affects the persistence of allergic responses,” Dr Robinson said.

Inducing blood cancer cell death with a new therapy

Associate Professor Ross Dickins
by Anne Crawford

In patients with the blood cancer, acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), immature white blood cells in the bone marrow and blood become locked into a state of perpetual proliferation.

Most AML patients are treated with chemotherapy, which induces leukaemia cell death. However, some patients can also be treated with differentiation therapy, which instead triggers the maturation of leukaemia cells and stops their proliferation. Several new differentiation therapies have been clinically approved for AML patients, but their mechanisms of action are poorly understood.

Associate Professor Ross Dickinslaboratory has been focussing on understanding the behaviour of AML cells exposed to differentiation therapy. 

Grant a boon to rare leukaemia research

Dr Catherine Carmichael
by Anne Crawford

Acute Erythroleukaemia (AEL) is an aggressive subtype of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) with extremely poor outcomes; patients have a less than 20% chance of surviving past five years. AEL is largely resistant to standard treatments and new therapies are desperately needed.

Currently, there is a very limited understanding of the mechanisms that underpin AEL development, and subsequently, scientists and clinicians have made very few inroads into understanding how to best treat this malignancy.

Dr Catherine Carmichael, a group leader at the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases (ACBD), has been awarded $1.38 million by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) towards a five-year project investigating novel therapeutic strategies for AEL.

Trial of new hepatitis care model aims to raise cure rates

Dr Joseph Doyle
by Anne Crawford

130,000 people live with untreated hepatitis C (HCV) in Australia. Direct-acting antiviral treatment marked a new era in HCV treatment and has the potential to eliminate the disease as a public health threat. But although curative treatment, which targets specific steps within the hepatitis life-cycle, has been available as a PBS-funded therapy in Australia for nearly three years, the number of people commencing it is falling.

In particular, people who inject drugs (PWID), who have the highest burden of hepatitis, can be difficult to engage in traditional models of care. It currently takes several visits to doctors to test, confirm, and start people on curative HCV treatment.

Dr Joseph Doyle from the Department of Infectious Diseases has received a $1.459 million Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council to conduct a paradigm-changing trial assessing the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a same-visit HCV testing and treatment model of care for PWID.

Recent publications from Central Clinical School: 16 Nov - 1 Dec 2019

Prof Jo Fielding is last author on
a paper describing her group's
research on accurate measurement 
of cognitive deficits in MS patients
Recent publications from Central Clinical School affiliated researchers in the following departments. This is not a comprehensive list:
  • ACBD
  • Anaesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine
  • Diabetes
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Melbourne Sexual Health Centre
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry: Monash Alfred Psychiatry research centre
  • Medical Education

10 Dec 2019

Monash Staff Equity and Diversity Survey

Monash University is undertaking a staff equity and diversity survey, closing 20 December.  Please have your say! See more about the survey at www.monash.edu/gender-equity/staff-equity-and-diversity-survey

Take the survey

If you have any questions about the survey, please email staff-equity@monash.edu or call Dr Lucie Joschko, Manager Staff Equity and Diversity, on 03 9902 0246.
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