23 Jul 2022

New discovery could pave the way for improved treatments for diabetes

L-R: Dr Keith Al-Hasani, Dr Ishant Khurana and Professor Sam
El-Osta, lead authors on the beta cell regeneration study. Ishant
 Khurana explains more about the research
in a video (1:02 mins)
 and see animation

In a world-first, a study by Monash University has discovered a pathway to the regeneration of insulin in pancreatic stem cells, a major breakthrough toward new therapies to treat Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.  

Using the pancreas stem cells of type 1 diabetic donor, researchers were able to effectively reactivate them to become insulin-expressing and functionally resemble beta-like cells through the use of a drug which is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration but is not currently licensed for diabetes treatment.  

The new approach, though it requires further work, would in principle allow insulin-producing cells (beta-cells) that are destroyed in type 1 diabetics to be replaced with newborn insulin-generating cells.

22 Jul 2022

Dr Emily Edwards wins ASPIRE award for primary immunodeficiency research

Dr Emily Edwards has received an ASPIRE award

Congratulations to Dr Emily Edwards for winning the ASPIRE award presented by Grifols. The ASPIRE  (Award for Scientific Progress in Immunodeficiency Research) Award program is particularly interested in innovative ideas in the field of primary and secondary immunodeficiencies and the role of immunoglobulin therapy.

As part of this prestigious international award, Emily will receive €50,000 for her project, "Advancing the Genetic Diagnosis of Predominantly Antibody Deficiency through Development and Implementation of Functional Diagnostic Screening Assays." 

The project will support Emily's ongoing work in collaboration with Dr Julian Bosco and Prof Robyn O'Hehir (Alfred Health), Dr Samar Ojaimi (Monash Health), Dr Jason Fok (Eastern Health) and A/Prof Menno van Zelm (Monash University), and will be awarded at the ESID conference in Gothenburg, Sweden in October.

GIN Hub Seminar 28 July on Crohn's disease; the drivers of gut homeostasis

L-R Dr Emma Halmos, Dr Aidil Zaini and Ryan Wang
will give separate presentations in the GIN Hub seminar on 28 July 2022
There will be two presentations in the GIN (Gastroenterology, Immunology and Neuroscience) Hub Seminar coming up next Thursday 28 July at 12:30pm.

20 Jul 2022

HIV home testing vital for early diagnosis

HIV self-testing kits can improve early detection. Image: RACGP
Home-based tests designed to rapidly detect the presence of HIV could prove vital in the early diagnosis of the virus among the most vulnerable cohort, new research published in the Medical Journal of Australia has revealed.

Alfred Health sexual health physician and Monash University researcher Associate Professor Jason Ong said early detection is often challenging for overseas-born men who have sex with men. However, the self-testing kits, which are now readily available at pharmacies could soon change that.

See Monash story

12-18 July 2022 Central Clinical School recent publications

We need a better understanding of how patients experience breathlessness,
in order to address the under-recognition and under-treatment of this
important symptom: Study by Anne Holland and Janet Bondarenko
Recent publications featuring research as notified by PubMed during 12-18 July 2022 from Central Clinical School affiliated researchers in the following departments.

The most recent validated publications for the school and departments can be seen on their publications pages, linked to from the headings below. Otherwise, read down the entry for recent notifications. The below is not a comprehensive list.

A/Prof Eric Chow wins Australian Society for Medical Research best paper award

Congratulations to Associate Professor Eric Chow who has received the 2022 Australian Society for Medical Research Best Publication Prize. 

He won the award for his paper published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases in 2021 showing a large reduction in HPV genotypes among young gay/bisexual men after the introduction of the school-based male HPV vaccination program. 

See the Monash story on that publication, "HPV vaccine shows success in gay, bisexual men".

Monash projects backed by Australia’s national biotech incubator

L-R: A/Prof Ross Dickins and Prof Merlin Thomas have each been
awarded $500,000 by CUREator to develop biotech projects.
Biotech projects being led by Monash University have received $2.5M in funding to advance novel therapeutics and preclinical medical research that address schizophrenia, cancer, inflammatory diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and muscular dystrophy.

The five successful grant recipients include two from Central Clinical School, Professor Merlin Thomas and Associate Professor Ross Dickins. The funding from Australia’s national biotechnology incubator CUREator, has resulted in the formation of four new Monash-led biotech companies, with the fifth grant going to an existing Monash spin-out, RAGE Biotech.

See Monash story at www.monash.edu/news/articles/monash-projects-backed-by-australias-national-biotech-incubator

RAGE Biotech awarded $500,000 research grant from mRNA Victoria

RAGE Biotech, a pharmaceutical start-up company partnering with Monash University, specialises in novel medicines for chronic inflammatory disease. The company has been awarded a $500,000 grant to accelerate its development of an inhaled RNA therapeutic for chronic lung inflammation. 

RAGE Biotech Founder, Chief Scientific Officer and Monash University Professor MerlinThomas said, “We are delighted with this support from mRNA Victoria, which recognises the potential of RNA technology to change the lives of people struggling with inflammatory lung disease. At RAGE Biotech, we have applied this disuptive technology to an important therapeutic target that has so far been impossible to hit.” 

19 Jul 2022

Congratulations to Fiona Qiu on AINSE postgraduate award

Fiona Qiu is a PhD student working on
antiepileptic drugs in pregnancy

Congratulations to Fiona Qiu who has won an Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE) Postgraduate Research Award (PGRA) for her project, Antiepileptic Drugs in Pregnancy and in Neonates: Brain Entry and Effects on its Development.

Fiona is a PhD student, supervised by Associate Professor Nigel Jones. She describes the project, saying, "Numerous chronic diseases, such as epilepsy, necessitate long-term treatment of patients even during pregnancy and lactation, since discontinuation of medication has the potential to cause serious harm to the mother, and subsequently her offspring." 

18 Jul 2022

'Lifestyle and medication, not Surgery, key to preventing stroke

Adj A/Prof Anne Abbott recently published a review of treatment
for arterial narrowing, and found that lifestyle changes are more
effective than surgery. See her Channel 9 news interview.
Lifestyle changes and medication are more effective in combating the risk of stroke than invasive procedures, a Monash University study shows.

Adjunct Associate Professor Anne Abbott has analysed more than four decades of data relating to common treatments for advanced carotid artery stenosis, one of the leading causes of stroke, and found surgery and stents have very limited impact, if any, in preventing stroke.

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