Complexities of human disease targeted with $16 million in funding

December 18, 2012

Scientists at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia, have received more than $16 million in Australian Government funding to pursue research into cancer, malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and the immune system, it was announced today.

The funding was announced by federal health minister Tanya Plibersek and will be distributed through the National Health and Medical Research Council. Walter and Eliza Hall Institute scientists were awarded two program grants, worth more than $15 million over five years, two development grants, worth more than $1.3 million; and three PhD scholarships.

The program grants will: Professor Phil Hodgkin, who is leading the immunology research program, said it would focus on the adaptive immune response and the role of B cells and T cells within that response.

"The adaptive immune system is proving one of the most compelling and fascinating in the body," Professor Hodgkin said. "This system underlies our primary defense against acute infection and mediates long-term immunity by generating memory and long-lived effector cells. It is notorious for its complexity.

"Many diseases are associated with dysregulation of the adaptive immune system, including autoimmune conditions, cancer, allergies and immuno-deficiencies. A better understanding of this system would clearly bring health benefits so we will be examining B cell and T cell biology at three levels: the molecular, the cellular, and the whole animal; in the hope of delivering these benefits."

The development grants awarded to the institute will support Dr Chris Burns, who is trying to develop new treatments for rheumatoid arthritis; and Dr Krystal Evans, who is working to develop a new vaccine against the blood stage of the malaria parasite.

Dr Evans said it was estimated that around 3.5 billion people, approximately half of the world's population, live at risk of malaria infection. "There is currently a strong commitment to eliminate malaria in the 21st century. However, it is unlikely that this ambitious goal will be achieved without an effective vaccine," Dr Evans said. "As with smallpox and polio, we believe that a live attenuated vaccine would represent an invaluable tool for malaria elimination."

Dr Evans plans to manufacture a live genetically attenuated parasite blood-stage malaria vaccine, and use it in clinical trials to determine the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
-end-


Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.