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Professor George Werther
Professor George Werther, a paediatric endocrinologist, is Director of the Centre for Hormone Research at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and Director of Endocrinology at the Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) in Melbourne. At the RCH, he oversees a busy clinical practice in childhood diabetes and endocrine disorders. He has been involved in clinical and basic research on growth and development for about 30 years, focusing on growth hormone (GH) and the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system and mechanisms of regulation of the linear growth in both short and tall stature. His more recent work examines roles of the IGF system in abnormal growth and cancer, as well as in metabolism and obesity.
He was a founding Director of Antisense Therapeutics Limited, a publicly listed biotech company with a strong focus on therapeutic regulation of the GH/IGF system, whose original lead drug came from research in his laboratory. He has served on multiple national and international scientific and commercialisation review bodies and editorial boards, and has given many invited national and international lectures and symposia. He is regarded as an international authority on the IGF system in health and disease. His major outside interest is in theatre performance, where he has played a variety of characters, both real (Sigmund Freud, CS Lewis, Ludwig Van Beethoven), and imaginary.
1979: Organon Junior Endocrine Prize, for the best paper by a junior researcher presented at the Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society of Australia.
1979: Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship, for research in the USA in Paed Endo
1979: Nestle Travel Award for travel to the United States to take up above position.
1991: Best Poster at 11th International Symposium on Growth and Growth Disorders, Stockholm
1997: Chairman's Medal, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne. For services to Paediatric Endocrinology.
1998: Distinguished Old Boy, Melbourne High School. Invited to give keynote speech on behalf of twenty awardees in Medicine, Law and Academia.
1999: Macquarie Bank Fellowship of RACP – for sabbatical University of Michigan
2004: US Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society. Inaugural Trans-Pacific Lecture: “IGFs and the Ectoderm – Novel Therapeutic approaches"
2009: Wettenhall Medal – Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group – for Distinguished Achievements in Paediatric Endocrine Research.
Professor Werther's major interest is the role of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system in health and disease. He has recently been investigating, in collaboration with Dr Vince Russo, the role of IGF binding protein-2 (IGFBP-2) as a promoter of cancer, especially in neuroblastoma, breast and prostate cancer. He has also been researching the same protein's role as an enhancer of metabolic health, via insulin sensitisation, with Associate Professor Matt Sabin and Dr Vince Russo. IGFBP-2 appears to play a central role in both oncogenesis and metabolic regulation and holds potential for the development of new treatment therapies.
- Targeting IGFBP-2 in cancer - Development of novel anti-cancer therapeutics
- Dissecting IGFBP-2 nucleo-cytoplasmic shuttling mechanisms in cancer cells.
- Identification of IGFBP-2 genomic binding sites and DNA binding partners in cancer cells
- Obesity, Diabetes and Cancer Link – A Role For IGFBP-2
Yau SW, Henry BA, Russo VC, McConell GK, Clarke IJ, Werther GA, Sabin MA. Leptin enhances insulin sensitivity by direct and sympathetic nervous system regulation of muscle IGFBP-2 expression: evidence from nonrodent models. Endocrinology. 2014 Jun;155(6):2133-43. Epub 2014 Mar 21.
Azar WJ, Zivkovic S, Werther GA, Russo VC. IGFBP-2 Nuclear Translocation is mediated by a Functional NLS sequence and is Essential for its Pro-tumorigenic Actions in Cancer Cells. Oncogene 2014. 33(5):578-88
Pell GS, Lin A, Wellard RM, Werther GA, Cameron FJ, Finch SJ, Papoutsis J, Northam EA.Age-related loss of brain volume and T2 relaxation time in youth with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2012 Mar;35(3):513-9. Epub 2012 Feb 1.
Russo VC, Higgins S, Werther GA, Cameron FJ.Effects of fluctuating glucose levels on neuronal cells in vitro. Neurochem Res. 2012 Aug;37(8):1768-82
Koves IH, Russo VC, Higgins S, Mishra A, Pitt J, Cameron FJ, Werther GA. An in vitro paradigm for diabetic cerebral oedema and its therapy: a critical role for taurine and water channels. Neurochem Res. 2012 Jan;37(1):182-92.
Azar WJ, Azar SHX, Higgins S, Hu J, Hoffman AR, Newgreen DF, Werther GA, Russo VC. IGFBP-2 Enhances VEGF Gene Promoter Activity and Promotion of Angiogenesis by Neuroblastoma Cells. 152: 332-42.2011 Jul 12.
Simm P, Russo VC, Werther GA. The effect of selective oestrogen receptor antagonists in an in vitro model of growth plate chondrogenesis. Endocrine. 2011 40:27-34.May 4. [Epub ahead of print] 52: 332-42.2011 Jul 12. [Epub ahead of print]
Sabin MA, Yau SW, Russo VC, Clarke IJ, Dunshea FR, Chau J, Cox M, Werther GA. Dietary monounsaturated fat in early life regulates IGFBP2 – implications for fat mass accretion and insulin sensitivity. Obesity. 2011. 2011 Mar 24.
Anurag Bajpai, Peter J Simm, Stephen J McPherson, Vincenzo C Russo, Walid J Azar, John D Wark, Gail P Risbridger, George A Werther. Peripubertal Aromatase Inhibition in Male Rats has Adverse Long-term Effects on Bone Strength and Growth and Induces Prostatic Hyperplasia. Journal of Physiology 2010.207:27-34.
Northam EA, Rankins D, Lin A, Wellard RM, Pell GS, Finch SJ, Werther GA, Cameron FJ. Central nervous system function in youth with type 1 diabetes 12 years after disease onset. Diabetes Care. 2009 Mar;32(3):445-50. Epub 2009 Jan 16.
- Development Board of the Centre for Hormone Research
- RCH Inverloch Diabetes Auxiliary
- Continuous NHMRC Funding from 1986-2013