You are here

Media Centre

A global approach to the control of scabies led by the Murdoch Children’s Research and partners is one of 12 finalists for the Macquarie 50th Anniversary Award, which recognises work targeting social need with grants totaling $50 million. The Macquarie Group received 1,000 applications from around the world and will choose five winners with each receiving $10 million over five years. The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute application is for the World Scabies Elimination Program, which will utilise ivermectin (an oral medication) to treat scabies in large populations. MCRI’s Director of Infection and Immunity, Professor Andrew Steer said his team had developed the World Scabies Elimination Program to bring together key global partners and drive scabies research into public health action to eliminate the debilitating skin condition. “We want to alleviate the suffering and disability caused by scabies,” Prof Steer said. “Scabies infestation is frequently complicated by bacterial infection, leading to ...
To mark International Day of Immunology (Monday, April 29), Australians are being urged to ensure their children are vaccinated against measles, as a global outbreak has seen a four-fold increase in recorded cases this year. Immunisation paediatrician Dr Margie Danchin, from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, said in Australia already 103 cases of the viral disease have been diagnosed in the first three months of 2019 – the same number for the whole of last year. “Measles is a very nasty virus that can cause symptoms for up to 10 days, but in some people it results in hospitalisation and serious and life-threatening complications including pneumonia, inflammation or encephalitis of the brain, and also a chronic life threatening condition called SSPE (Subacute Sclerosing Pan-encephalitis), which is fatal,” Dr Danchin said. “Around the world, measles kills around 100,000 people, mostly children, every year. Please ensure that your child’s vaccinations are up ...
A new study has found genetic makeup does not predispose people to tooth decay, however the research did find that children with overweight mothers are more likely to have cavities. The paper*, published in the latest edition of Pediatrics, estimates that one in three Australian children have tooth decay by the time they start school. Lead researcher Dr Mihiri Silva, from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, said the study looked at the teeth of 173 sets of twins (identical and non-identical) from pregnancy through to six years of age. “How genetics impacts on dental health has not often been studied,” Dr Silva said. “This is the first twin study that looks at both genetics and early life risk factors, such as illness and lifestyle. “We found that identical twins, with identical genomes, have varying degrees of decay. “This means that environmental factors, like a lack of fluoride in water, seem ...
Australians born through assisted reproduction are as healthy as people conceived naturally, according to a new study led by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. The research*, published in the latest Fertility and Sterility journal, is the largest ever population-based study comparing the health of adults conceived through assisted reproduction technology (IVF and GIFT**) with the health of the general population. Lead author Professor Jane Halliday of Australia’s largest child health institute said researchers looked at 193 people aged between 22 to 35 years born using assisted reproduction technology. “The study showed there is no evidence of increased vascular or cardiometabolic risk such as heart disease and diabetes, growth or respiratory or well-being problems in this assisted reproduction technology group, compared with a non-assisted reproduction technology group recruited from the same Victorian population,” she said. But Prof Halliday said the adults born through one type of assisted reproduction technology, in vitro-fertilisation, ...
Australian scientists have conducted the first ever screening of potential heart regeneration drugs using bioengineered human heart muscle – a move that could revolutionise how heart drugs are developed in the future. The four-year study has been published today in the journal Cell Stem Cell. It was led by researchers from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Melbourne, in collaboration with researchers from global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Lead author and head of QIMR Berghofer’s Organoid Research Laboratory, Associate Professor James Hudson, said the study also identified two potential drug candidates that may help regenerate damaged heart tissue without negative side effects on heart function. “Currently potential new drugs are tested on heart cells or in mice but those tests don’t always accurately replicate the effects on human hearts,” Associate Professor Hudson said. “About 90 per cent of drugs that enter clinical trials ...
Each year more than 40,000 people have their tonsils out – it is the most common elective childhood operation in Australia – but this number could be reduced by a simple nasal spray being trialed by Melbourne researchers. Lead researcher Dr Kirsten Perrett, from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute said a largescale trial will test whether an anti-inflammatory nasal spray could help children who snore or have breathing difficulties while sleeping. Around 10 per cent of children worldwide experience this problem. Dr Perrett said the most common treatment for snoring is to surgically remove the adenoids and tonsils. “Surgery is a big deal for any child,” Dr Perrett said. “It requires an anesthetic, can be very painful and there are risks of bleeding. In addition, waiting lists for this surgery in some public hospitals are many months to years.” Associate Professor, Gillian Nixon, a paediatric respiratory and sleep physician overseeing ...
The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute has welcomed the opening of the first genomics mission competitive grants round to focus on research into cancers, children’s illnesses and diseases with low survival rates. The $65 million competitive grants are part of the $500 million Australian Genomics Health Futures Mission (GHFM), drawn from the $1.3 billion National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan. The mission’s Expert Advisory Committee will be supported by a new genomics scientific subcommittee to be chaired by MCRI Director Professor Kathryn North. “Genomics is the foundation of precision medicine which means faster diagnosis and targeted treatment to improve health outcomes,” Prof North said. “Genomics technology will enable practitioners to tailor treatment for each patient, monitor and manage risk, and potentially cure a wide range of diseases.” Grants funding will be available over three years from 2019–20 to 2021–22 for research into: Cancers (including lung cancer and mesothelioma) and diseases ...
Mobile crèches in India, nutrition lessons for parents in Colombia, and mental health support for families in the Congo are just a few of the projects a Melbourne researcher has studied, while looking at how to deliver early child development programs to the world’s preschoolers. Paediatrician Kate Milner from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute is a lead author in a new series, examining child development projects across 23 low-and middle-income countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and South-East. “We want to better understand how to support under-fives children’s play, learning and development in diverse settings,” said Dr Milner, who this week travelled from Melbourne to the Panama in Central America for the launch of the research at the International Paediatric Association congress. The five papers, published in the latest ‘Archives of Disease in Childhood’ was produced by more than 20 authors from around the world, and ...
Stem Cells Australia and The University of Melbourne have welcomed $150 million Federal Government funding towards research into new ways to treat congenital heart disease, blindness, stroke, dementia and kidney disease. The Australian Stem Cell Therapies Mission, funded through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grant, will enable critical stem cell research to continue. This includes using stem cells to find new drugs to stimulate heart repair or improve function, helping patients with corneal damage or cataracts to see again, or making immune cells from stem cell to assist repair in neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Stem Cells Australia Program Leader and University of Melbourne Professor Melissa Little, who is also Cell Biology Theme Director at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, said stem cell science has been a strength within Australian biomedical research for many decades. “We are the stage where we can now apply what we have learnt ...
The first detailed global study of adolescent health reveals: Growing inequality with a large disease burden in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific Obesity rates have doubled, with countries in the Pacific region having among the highest prevalence Anaemia remains unchecked, India bearing heavy burden Investments in health, education, legal systems have not kept pace with needs Gender inequity is a powerful driver of poor adolescent health Today’s adolescents make up the largest generation in history, but a landmark study reveals these young people are encountering greater health challenges than those faced 25 years ago, and investments in their wellbeing have not kept pace with population growth. The global study provides the first comprehensive and integrated snapshot of the health and wellbeing of the 1.8 billion adolescents aged 10-24 who make up a third of the world’s population. The research, published in The Lancet, builds on the earlier Lancet Commission ...