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Institute News
Genetic counselling is one of the rarest jobs in Australia – with only 230 employed nationwide. Genetic counsellors work in many areas of medicine, including paediatrics, prenatal, infertility, neurology, cancer and cardiology. Many counsellors work directly with patients, while others carry out research in public laboratories and for industry. Some are employed in health education. The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute has a not-for-profit genetic testing lab, Victorian Clinical Genetic Services (VCGS), that carries out tests for hundreds of genetic conditions impacting adults and children. Lisette Curnow is one of the longest serving genetic counsellors at VCGS with 18 years of service. She works closely with doctors, lab technicians and families every day and recently spoke to MCRI communications officer Christine Tondorf about her work.
Research News
3D modelling of a child’s kidney cells led by MCRI researchers is another step towards precision medicine, according to a paper published today in Nature Communications journal. Using kidney tissue created in an MCRI laboratory and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from a young patient the team, which included researchers from University of Melbourne, Royal Children’s Hospital and University of Manchester created a model of congenital nephrotic syndrome; an inherited condition that begins in infancy and typically leads to irreversible kidney failure. In modelling the condition, the researchers created a customised copy of the patient’s glomeruli, the part of the kidney’s waste filtration system damaged in this disease. The model enabled the researchers to better understand the cause of disease which they hope will ultimately lead to new treatments. Senior author, Professor Melissa Little, said these 3D models bring the potential to investigate normal kidney development as well as disease...
Research News
New research led by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI), has combined gene editing technology with stem cell kidney regeneration to correct a patient’s gene mutation. This is the first time a patient has had kidney regenerated from their stem cells in Australia. The research, is part of a regenerative medicine project in which human stem cells are used to develop mini-kidneys with a view to discovering new genes and treatments for inherited kidney disease. In this new study, published in The American Journal of Human Genetics and involving hospitals and laboratories in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, stem cells derived from a child with genetic kidney disease were grown into two sets of living mini-kidney organoids – one with her kidney disease and one in which her gene mutation was corrected. The stem cells were created from a skin biopsy taken from 12-year-old Alexandria, who suffers from Mainzer-Saldino Syndrome, a...
Research News
Researchers from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI), University of Melbourne and Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) in The Netherlands have made an important step towards making human kidneys from stem cells that they one day hope can be used to treat kidney disease. The research is part of a regenerative medicine project in which human stem cells are used to develop kidneys with functioning tissue as an alternative for renal replacement. In 2015, Professor Melissa Little and her team grew kidney tissue from stem cells that can be used in drug screening and disease. Researchers across the globe now use this method. “The mini-kidney we have grown in the laboratory has all the different cell types and structures found in a ‘real’ kidney, but so far we haven’t managed to properly attach the blood vessel system in a culture dish and achieve sufficient maturation of this kidney tissue”, explains...
Institute News
Two MCRI researchers have been recognised by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) with prestigious research excellence awards. Professor Melissa Little, Director of MCRI’s Cell Biology theme, was presented with the Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship, Australia’s top award for a woman in biomedical science. The Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship is named after Professor Blackburn, an Australian scientist who received a Nobel Laureate for her groundbreaking work on chromosomes in 2009. Prof Little is internationally-renowned for her research on kidney development and her pioneering studies into renal regeneration, which have the potential to change the lives of people with kidney disease. Prof Little’s acclaimed work includes growing ‘mini kidneys’ from human stem cells in the laboratory. This breakthrough has paved the way for researchers across the globe to use this method for drug screening and disease modelling. With one in 10 Australians living with kidney disease, Prof Little’s ultimate goal is...
Research News
Organovo Holdings, Inc., a three-dimensional biology company focused on delivering scientific and medical breakthroughs using its 3D bioprinting technology, today announced a collaboration with Professor Melissa Little and the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, to develop an architecturally correct kidney for potential therapeutic applications.