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Research News
An international team of researchers, led by MCRI, have identified a rare genetic brain disorder that causes severe neurological damage in children after a mild episode of fever or illness. The children died soon after. The research has been published in the January edition of the journal, Brain. Only six cases have been found worldwide. Whole-exome or whole-genome sequencing identified recessive NAXD variants in each case. Lead researcher Nicole Van Bergen said that given the underlying genetic basis of the disorder is now understood, future research will investigate whether targeted treatments are possible.
Research News
Press release from the office of Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health The Liberal National Government is providing nearly $1 million in funding to a medical research project that will use human stem cells to develop kidneys as an alternative for renal replacement. It is estimated that one in ten Australians will show evidence of chronic kidney disease by 2020, but only one in four patients will receive a transplant. Chronic kidney disease is rising in incidence by six per cent percent per annum and there is an acute need to develop new therapies. With funding allocated from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Professor Melissa Little from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute will receive $936,221 for her research project. Her 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...
Research News
A simple new test developed at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and University of Melbourne will help clinicians decide whether to use oral or intravenous antibiotics to treat childhood infections. Developed and validated in children attending The Royal Children’s Hospital with a common skin infection, the Melbourne ASSET Risk Score is the first clinical risk score to help clinicians decide between IV and oral antibiotics in children. The findings are published today in the journal Pediatrics. Lead author and MCRI PhD student Dr Laila Ibrahim said clinicians often faced a difficult choice in how best to treat childhood infections where antibiotics are needed. “Using IV antibiotics when they’re not needed means unnecessary hospitalisations, risk of complications and a financial burden on families and hospitals,” Ms Ibrahim said. “Using oral antibiotics when IV is required risks children becoming more unwell, hence the need to standardise the decision between the two when...
Institute News
Three of Australia’s child health leaders have joined forces to tackle global child health – the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, The Royal Children’s Hospital and the University of Melbourne have launched a new initiative, Melbourne Children’s Global Health. Co-Chair of Melbourne Children’s Global Health, Professor Andrew Steer, said the creation of Melbourne Children’s Global Health will help the three institutes secure research funding, strengthen their standing at international forums, and enable the researchers to better share information and resources MCRI Director Professor Kathryn North said under the banner of Melbourne Children’s Global Health, the three institutes will work with 45 low-resource countries to improve child and adolescent health equity. “For example, we hope to bring our new rotavirus vaccine to millions of Indonesian children,” Professor North said. “Melbourne Children’s Global Health will work with Indonesian researchers and clinicians to ensure that this new vaccine is used to best effect.” Head...
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.
Institute News
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) has attracted $34.2 million funding in the latest National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Grant Application Round. The funding has been awarded to 41 grants across the institute, which is an overall success rate of more than 31 per cent – significantly higher than the national rate of 19.5 per cent. In a stellar year for MCRI, successful applications include 24 Project Grants, four Early Career Fellowships, four Research and Practitioner Fellowships, and two Centres of Research Excellence. The results, announced Wednesday, 12 October by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, represent an almost 40 per cent increase on last year’s NHMRC grant total of $24.5 million. MCRI Director Kathryn North said she was proud to lead such a high-performing institute. “Our success is recognition of the intense work of all our staff, as well as a reflection of the calibre of our researchers and...
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...