Life Sciences

Wheat that’s good for guts

A new kind of wheat high in resistant starch can improve intestinal health

Bowel cancer is the world’s third most common cancer. A diet that includes more resistant starch, a kind of fibre that feeds good bacteria in the large intestine, can make it less common. Resistant starch helps improve gut health and reduces the risk of conditions such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer.

Since 2006, CSIRO scientists have been working in a joint venture with French company Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients and the Grains Research and Development Corporation to develop wheat with more resistant starch. [continue reading…]

Media Release: Melbourne steps up to drive global health

Images, video overlay, two case studies (rotavirus vaccine and TB in adolescents) and backgrounder available.

Melbourne Children’s Global Health initiative to take action for the:

  • Two million children dying annually from pneumonia and diarrhoea
  • 8 million new child and youth cases of TB each year
  • Mental health and wellbeing of youth caught up in global unemployment, civic unrest, conflict, urbanisation and migration
  • Hospitals and health workers who want training and education to help them save their young patients.

Three of Australia’s child health leaders are joining forces to tackle global child health. Melbourne Children’s Global Health will build on the achievements of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) and the University of Melbourne. [continue reading…]

Backgrounder: What is Melbourne Children’s Global Health? What will we do?

Melbourne Children’s Global Health is an initiative to improve the health of children and adolescents in disadvantaged populations globally through partnerships in research, public health, education and advocacy.

The initiative has been created by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics, and the Royal Children’s Hospital under the auspices of the Melbourne Children’s Campus, and with the support of the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation.

[continue reading…]

Images: Melbourne Global

For hi-res versions please click on the photo and then right click to download the file.

The first baby in Indonesia to be vaccinated with the new vaccine. (Credit: Melbourne Children’s Campus)

The midwives and doctor at the Jatinom Primary Health Centre in Klaten District, Central Java, which is connected to the new rotavirus trial. (Credit: Melbourne Children’s Campus)

[continue reading…]

Case Study: New rotavirus vaccine enters manufacturing

Bio Farma, Indonesia’s national vaccine company, is completing a phase 1 trial of a new rotavirus vaccine invented in Melbourne and has started pilot manufacture of the vaccine. Licencing trials are next, followed hopefully by release of the new vaccine in 2021.

The project is the culmination of a 42-year partnership between Melbourne and Gadjah Mada University which started after Ruth Bishop and colleagues found a virus, now known as rotavirus, in babies at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. They showed it was the cause of an acute gastroenteritis that was hospitalising 10,000 Australian children every year and killing more than half a million children worldwide. [continue reading…]

Overcoming knee pain with the help of a digital twin

Scientists use computer simulations of joint and muscle movements to teach us to exercise smarter

Image: Dr Pizzolato is making digital twins to help improve how people move in real life. Credit: Gold Coast Orthopaedic Research Alliance, Griffith University

Researchers have developed computer simulations of joint and muscle movements that can teach us how to exercise smarter and prevent knee pain and further damage.

One in five Australians over the age of 45 suffer from painful and debilitating osteoarthritis, with the knee being the most commonly affected joint.  

Dr Claudio Pizzolato from Griffith University is making computer avatars or ‘digital twins’ of individual patients to see how their muscles and joints work. [continue reading…]

$6.9 million quest for new antibiotics from Australia’s unique microbiome

Macquarie University and UWA scientists will join forces with two Australian companies to search for new antibiotics in 500,000 species of Australian microbes.

Background information below.

The project will be supported by a $3 million CRC-P grant announced by Australia’s Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation, Senator Zed Seselja.

“We have samples of over 500,000 Australian microbes,” says Dr Ernest Lacey, Managing Director of Sydney-based company, Microbial Screening Technologies (MST), and the leader of the project.

Microbe-covered plates. Image credit: Andrew Piggott

“We’ve collected them from the soil in backyards, in paddocks, and forests. We’ve collected them from insects, plants and animals. We’ve gone everywhere to find Australia’s unique microbiome.”

“Each microbe contains a unique cocktail of metabolites. When we find an interesting new molecule, we’ll be relying on Macquarie University researcher Dr Andrew Piggott and his team to help us to work out its structure and mode of action.”

“Then Dr Heng Chooi from UWA will use genomics to unravel how the microbes assemble these metabolites and then boost their productivity.”

“Advanced Veterinary Therapeutics (AVT) is led by Dr Stephen Page and will focus on animal health potential,” says Dr Lacey.

“The CRC-P Program helps businesses, industries and research organisations to work together on short-term projects to develop practical solutions to challenges in key industry sectors,” Assistant Minister Seselja said at the project launch.

The three-year project, “BioAustralis, towards the future, will harness MST’s unique collection as a source of next-generation antibiotics capable of overcoming microbial resistance. [continue reading…]

Stem cell invasion: 2,500 researchers in Melbourne

Mending broken hearts and burnt eyes, and much more

  • Stem cells are saving lives today—through bone marrow and cord blood transplants
  • There are trials making new skin, restoring sight, treating diabetes, repairing the brain
  • But we’ll also hear of the dangers of risky treatments, snake oil merchants, and new Australian and US regulations.

More than 2,500 stem cell scientists from 50 countries are in Melbourne this week for the massive International Society for Stem Cell Research 2018 Annual Meeting. It’s taking place from 20-23 June at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Here are some highlights and we’ll have daily alerts for you with more people and ideas through the week.

Media are welcome.

Developing a stem cell product to cure blindness from burning—Michele De Luca and Graziella Pellegrini, Italy

Italian innovators Graziella Pellegrini and Michele De Luca have seen their work lead to patients regaining eyesight after 20 years of blindness. And it’s led to the world’s first non-blood-related commercial stem cell therapy.

[continue reading…]