29 Jun 2020

Long-lived plasma cells are key to an effective vaccine

A plasma cell, situated in its survival niche, produces Y shaped antibodies.
Long-lived plasma cells are needed for successful vaccines as they can
produce anti-virus antibodies for decade
s. Image: Tarlinton lab
Long-lived plasma cells are needed for successful vaccines as they can produce anti-virus antibodies for decades. A recent study by Monash University immunologists is unpacking the factors contributing to successful survival of plasma cells.

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, a lot of research is focused on developing a vaccine.  For a vaccine to be successful, it has to do two things. First, it must signal the body to generate a lot of plasma cells to make anti-virus antibodies. Second, these plasma cells have to live for years or even decades for the vaccination to work. However, the reality is that most of them only survive a few days.

Breast cancer surgery pain relief trial awarded $4.3 million MRFF grant

Prof Paul Myles CIB
Prof Tomas Corcoran CIA
The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) Clinical Trials Network (CTN) has secured funding from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to perform a clinical trial in 4400 patients undergoing breast cancer surgery.

The project received $4.3 million, the highest amount awarded in the recent MRFF neurological disorders grant initiative announced by the Australian Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt on 25 June.

It is estimated that nearly half of breast cancer patients experience some chronic pain after surgery. The five year LOLIPOP (Long-term Outcomes of Lidocaine Infusions for persistent Postoperative Pain) study will administer lidocaine intravenously to patients during and up to 24 hours after breast cancer surgery.

Gendered impacts of COVID-19 on the medical research workforce

Women are poorly represented in the STEM workforce and COVID-19
has increased inequities.
Gendered impacts of COVID-19 on the medical research workforce 

Reproduced from Monash Lens 24 June 2020
featuring Dr Jess Borger

"We're all in this together" has been the rallying cry from our political leaders throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Obviously the current crisis has impacted us all, including the medical research workforce, but some have experienced inequities more severely than others.

Congratulations to our completed PhDs Nenad Macesic and Paul Gill!

L-R: Dr Nenad Macesic and Mr Paul Gill, PhD graduates
Congratulations to Mr Paul Gill and Dr Nenad Macesic on their recent completions of their PhDs!

Dr Nenad Macesic's thesis is titled, "Combating Gram negative multi-drug resistance with insights from novel bioinformatics approaches". He was supervised by Professor Anton Peleg (Department of Infectious Diseases) and Dr Anne-Catrin Uhlemann (Columbia University). The PhD was awarded 11 June 2020.

Mr Paul Gill's thesis is titled, "Investigating immune effects of short-chain fatty acids in healthy humans". He was supervised by Professor Peter Gibson, Associate Professor Jane Muir (both in the Department of Gastroenterology) and Associate Professor Menno van Zelm (Department of Immunology and Pathology). The PhD was awarded 24 June 2020.

Successful ANZCA CTN Anaesthesia Research Coordinators Network virtual workshop

Running workshops virtually works well with inventive adaptations. 90+ people
took part in the ANZCA Anaesthesia Research Coordinators Network workshop.
Last week, the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) Clinical Trials Network (CTN) kicked off a series of free virtual workshops in lieu of their annual face-to-face Strategic Research Workshop.

The inaugural Anaesthesia Research Coordinators Network (ARCN) virtual workshop was the first of three virtual workshops to take place over the next couple of months, and was characterised by full and inventive use of the Zoom platform features.

Safe cancer care during COVID restrictions

The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) have published a short video clip with a message from Victorian cancer health professionals for patients with cancer and people with signs or symptoms that it is safe to visit GPs and specialists, that being:

"Cancer care continues in our hospitals and clinics. If you have signs or symptoms of cancer, see your GP and attend screening."

Please share: https://youtu.be/zj6CdwkpKPo
Follow VCCC on Twitter: @VicCompCancerCr

In the media: the unfortunate synergy of diabetes and COVID

Coronavirus drawing. Image: USA Today
Professor Paul Zimmet, Professor of Diabetes, Monash University, Australia, and a former advisor at WHO, says between 30-40 per cent of deaths from studies in intensive care units from different countries are people with diabetes. See full article, 'Diabetes is dynamite for person[s] with Covid' published 1 July 2020.

See also a fact check article quoting Paul Zimmet on evidence for COVID-19 acting as a trigger for new onset diabetes: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/06/27/fact-check-doctors-study-whether-covid-19-triggers-diabetes/3267863001/

The website for the newly established COVIDIAB Registry is http://covidiab.e-dendrite.com/

Faculty 3MT Week starts now: 3-10 July - voting closes 11 am Fri 10 July

Faculty 3MT Week is on! Friday 3 July - 11am Friday 10 July. Please watch and vote for your favourite!

Our people's choice (of course) is Alex Dimitropoulos, in Central Clinical School's Department of Diabetes, with her topic, "A spoon full of GLO makes the years go down". What's not to like about that?

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