Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity

Melbourne, Australia

Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity

Melbourne, Australia
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PARIS—An HIV-infected child in South Africa who is controlling the virus without antiretroviral (ARV) drugs has reinvigorated the push to find ways to allow people to control the virus for prolonged periods without treatment. The child, whose gender hasn't been revealed to help protect anonymity, was born to an HIV-infected mother and was given ARVs starting at 8 weeks old; the treatment was stopped at 40 weeks as part of a controlled clinical trial. Now, more than 8.5 years later, the virus hasn't rebounded and the child is doing fine, researchers reported here yesterday at an international AIDS conference. That doesn't mean the HIV infection has been cured, they stressed; the child still harbors low levels of the virus, invisible with standard tests but easily detected with ultrasensitive ones. But the case may offer fresh clues to what makes long-term remission possible. In most people living with HIV who stop taking drugs, the virus comes roaring back within weeks. If long drug holidays were possible, it could simplify people’s lives, slash the costs of treatment, and reduce long-term side effects. And the research into what some call "sustained viral remission" could help inform the search for a complete cure. So far there have only been two other reports of children whose virus remained undetectable for years after stopping treatment. Researchers think chances of long-term remission may increase if a patient starts treatment very soon after infection, as the South African child did. The new case offers a unique study opportunity because it was part of a large clinical trial for which blood samples were stored at regular intervals. “It’s exciting that we’ve identified the child, as it could provide answers for the future,” says Mark Cotton, an HIV/AIDS clinical researcher at Stellenbosch University in South Africa who took part in the study, dubbed CHER. At the meeting, the team described genetic and immunologic studies to explain the remission, but said strong clues have not yet surfaced. “There’s a long way to go,” Cotton says. But to some conference attendees, the case is a one-off that has echoes of the “Mississippi baby,” who had a similar history and received intense attention from scientists and the public alike—until the virus rebounded after 27 months off treatment. “Single-case reports have limited value now,” says Sharon Lewin, a leading HIV cure researcher and director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, Australia. “We know it happens and we need to understand why. But I’m surprised there’s so much interest in this.” Very few people can control HIV without ARVs. These so-called “elite controllers” typically have genetic factors that predispose their immune systems to create unusually strong responses against HIV, without treatment. ARVs do the job very well, too, but the problem is that HIV can integrate and lie dormant in long-lived immune memory cells, ready to bounce back when therapy stops. To eliminate the virus—a complete cure—researchers have tried to shrink these reservoirs, so far with little progress. But treating people shortly after they become infected might reduce the size of the initial reservoir, making it easier to drain. And even if it’s not possible to empty it, the amount of new virus emerging from a smaller reservoir might be so low that the immune system can contain it without drugs. Asier Sáez-Cirión, a viral immunologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, has been following a group of 23 patients in France who started treatment shortly after becoming infected and whose virus had remained undetectable on standard tests for an average of 7 years. (They had been treated for 3 years on average but decided to stop for various reasons.) One person in the group, called the VISCONTI cohort, has gone without treatment for nearly 17 years. None of the patients had a genetic signature associated with elite controllers. Many researchers paid little heed to the VISCONTI data when they were first reported in 2013 because it was a series of case reports, not a controlled study. “VISCONTI put the flag up and said there’s something going on, and many people thought it was rubbish and it doesn’t matter,” says clinical researcher John Frater of Oxford University in the United Kingdom. “But it wasn’t rubbish.” Although Frater and co-workers weren’t looking to induce long-term remission, they conducted their own controlled study, called SPARTAC, of nearly 200 people who started treatment early. Treatment was halted in one group of participants after 12 weeks and in another after 48 weeks. One year later, the virus was undetectable in 14% of the people who had the 48-week treatment and in 4% of those who received the shorter one. The study, published in 2013, convinced Frater that early treatment can lead to long-term suppression in at least some people. (He hasn’t followed the patients since, and it’s not clear how they’re doing now.) But limiting the reservoir by treating early won’t by itself lead to sustained viral remission, as underscored by another study presented at the meeting. Timothy Henrich of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), described a patient who started ARVs an estimated 10 days after becoming infected. He stayed on treatment for 34 months and had “nearly a complete loss” of HIV: Researchers couldn’t detect the virus “despite massive sampling” of his blood, bone marrow, spinal fluid, lymph nodes, ileum, and rectum. HIV did resurface, however, when they injected his blood into a “humanized” mouse, although the team was unable to confirm that the virus was real and not a contaminant. A mathematical model suggests the patient only had 200 infected cells left in his body. He decided to stop treatment and the virus rebounded 7.4 months later. UCSF’s Steven Deeks, who collaborates with Henrich, says he thinks the key to sustained remission may be a tricky balance between using drugs early to keep the reservoir small and allowing the immune system to see enough HIV to develop a robust memory response for when the virus comes back. “If you start very early, as we did with our patient, you have only a few hundred infected cells, but the immune system did not have a chance to generate a protective response,” Deeks says. “If you start too late, you have a huge reservoir but an overwhelmed immune system.” He suggests the South African child and the VISCONTI patients may have had the right balance. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, described a study that asked whether an HIV vaccine could boost the immune systems in infected people on ARVs whose virus was undetectable, hoping to help them achieve long-term remission when they stopped the drugs. One group of 15 received the vaccine, whereas the second was given a placebo. The strategy didn't work: The virus quickly rebounded in most everyone within a few weeks. But a handful of people stayed in remission for more than a year—some of them in the placebo group. The outcome emphasizes the importance of controlled trials, Fauci says: “If we had just given a vaccine without the control, we would have said, ‘Wow, look what we did.'” Frater has one of several new, controlled studies on the drawing board that plan to stop ARVs in people who started treatment early and then intensively study them to see why a few have long-term remission. “What on Earth is driving this?” Frater asks. “If we think there’s a cure agenda, it will be really hard to move forward unless we understand this mechanism.”


BALTIMORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Global Virus Network (GVN) launched its Fourth Annual Short Course on Medical Virology held August 13-19, 2017 for 15 early career medical virologists from Australia, Brazil, India, Jamaica, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Nigeria, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, and the United States. The preeminent one-week course on basic, translational, and clinical aspects of viruses features world-renowned researchers drawn from GVN Centers of Excellence, comprising 39 Centers of Excellence and six affiliates in 24 countries and comprises foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans. The Short Course is designed to counter a declining number of researchers entering the field of medical virology. The announcement was made by Robert Gallo, MD, co-founder and scientific director, Global Virus Network. “This year’s program is one of the most robust, well-rounded agendas since the Short Course’s inception,” said Gallo, who is co-discoverer of HIV as the cause of AIDS and The Homer and Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, director, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence. “My colleagues and I have noticed a disturbing, declining trend in those entering the field of medical virus research. This decline is unacceptable, particularly as deadly viral threats are on the rise. The GVN Short Course is a model program that could be replicated worldwide to help reverse the decline of rising highly-trained medical virus researchers.” This year’s agenda includes discussions on important viruses such as hepatitis, Ebola, Marburg, Lassa, Zika, HIV, measles and, HPV, among others. Topics include, biosurveillance, combatting animal virus threats in a One Health approach, bioinformatics, and an insectary tour. For the complete program please visit http://ow.ly/YpRm30e6LcN. At the end of the annual course, participants elect a fellow participant as the “next emerging leader in medical virology” based on leadership and expertise. The nominee returns to the course the following year as a speaker. This year, all past nominees will speak during the course including Florian Krammer, PhD (2014), Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, USA; Christina Gavegnano, PhD (2015), Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University, USA and, Miguel Garcia-Knight, PhD (2016), Centro de Investigaciones en Ciencias Microbiológicas, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico. “The Global Virus Network has created a worldwide infrastructure of renowned scientists and medical experts that links basic science research with translational application,” said Dr. Gavegnano. “The GVN short course provides a front-row seat to a framework for young people to embark on a career in virology; GVN paints a picture encompassing coursework, degrees, post-graduate opportunities, and ability to join cutting-edge science discovery that can impact the lives of millions.” "This course provides a broad perspective on medically important viruses from leading experts and is set up to encourage close interaction between invited speakers and international attendees,” said Dr. Garcia-Knight. “It’s an excellent opportunity to use the links within the GVN to advance research programs back home and is something I intend to take advantage of." This year’s Global Virus Network speakers, in addition to Dr. Gallo and others, include: Konstantin Chumakov, PhD, Associate Director for Research, Office of Vaccines Research and Review, U.S. Federal Drug Administration; Diane Griffin MD, PhD, Alfred and Jill Sommer Professor and Chair, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Andrew Haddow, PhD, Researcher in the Virology Division at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases; Shyam Kottilil, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Co-Director, Clinical Research Unit, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine; Erica Ollman- Saphire, PhD, Professor, Immunology & Microbial Science, The Scripps Research Institute and Director, Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Immunotherapeutic Consortium; and, Ab Osterhaus, PhD, DVM, Director, Research Center for Emerging Infections and Zoonoses, Professor, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, CEO, Artemis One Health Foundation. The GVN is a global authority and resource for the identification and investigation, interpretation and explanation, control and suppression, of viral diseases posing threats to mankind. It enhances the international capacity for reactive, proactive and interactive activities that address mankind-threatening viruses and addresses a global need for coordinated virology training through scholarly exchange programs for recruiting and training young scientists in medical virology. The GVN also serves as a resource to governments and international organizations seeking advice about viral disease threats, prevention or response strategies, and GVN advocates for research and training on virus infections and their many disease manifestations. The GVN, in partnership with The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and Institut Pasteur, will convene the 9th International Global Virus Network Meeting in Melbourne, Australia September 25-27, 2017. This year’s meeting will focus on “Pandemic, Epidemic and Emerging Viruses in the Asia Pacific Region.” More information can be found at www.gvn.org. The Global Virus Network (GVN) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, comprised of leading medical virologists from 24 countries. The GVN’s mission is to combat current and emerging pandemic viral threats through international collaborative research, training the next generation of medical virologists, and advocacy. For more information, please visit www.gvn.org. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews


SINGAPUR, 8. Dezember 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Carmentix Private Limited („Carmentix") und die University of Melbourne sind stolz, die Initiative „Preterm Birth Biomarker Discovery" (Aufdeckung von Biomarkern bei Frühgeburten) bekannt geben zu dürfen. Das Ziel dieser gemeinsam durchgeführten klinischen Studie ist es, neuartige, von Carmentix entdeckte Biomarker sowie Biomarker, die zuvor an der University of Melbourne endeckt und validiert wurden, in einem gemeinsamen Panel zu validieren und das Risiko für eine Frühgeburt ab der 20. Schwangerschaftswoche abzuschätzen. Die retrospektive Studie, die unter Leitung von Dr. Harry Georgiou, PhD, und Dr. Megan Di Quinzio, MD, an der University of Melbourne durchgeführt wird, soll die statistische Aussagekraft des neuartigen Biomarkerpanels bewerten. „Carmentix ist gespannt auf den Start dieser Zusammenarbeit, zumal wir anstreben, auch zukünftig die Biomarker, die auf unserer einzigartigen Plattform zur Datenaufbereitung entdeckt wurden, weiterzuentwickeln", sagte Dr. Nir Arbel, CEO von Carmentix. „Falls es validiert wird, könnte das neue Panel an Biomarkern die Hoffnung auf eine erhebliche, weltweite Verringerung bei der Zahl von Frühgeburten bestärken." Die klinische Geburtshelferin und Forscherin Dr. Di Quinzio erlebt häufig Mütter, die fragen: „Warum ist mein Baby zu früh geboren?" Oft gibt es keine befriedigende Antwort. „Frühgeburten bleiben weiterhin ein weltweites Problem im Gesundheitswesen, und traurigerweise fehlt es an zuverlässigen Instrumenten bei der Diagnostik", sagte Dr. Georgiou, Wissenschaftlicher Leiter an der University of Melbourne. „Die Kooperationsinitiative gemeinsam mit einem kommerziellen Partner wird dabei helfen, den Weg für einen neuartigen Lösungsansatz für eine bessere Diagnose zu bereiten, und hoffentlich einen Beitrag zur Vermeidung von zu früh einsetzenden Geburtswehen leisten." Carmentix ist von Esco Ventures unterstütztes Start-up-Unternehmen mit Sitz in Singapur. Carmentix entwickelt derzeit ein neuartiges, prognostisches Biomarkerpanel, das die Zahl von Frühgeburten signifikant reduzieren soll. Erreicht werden soll das durch die Einführung von biomolekularen Instrumenten, die das klinische Fachpersonal auf das Risiko einer Frühgeburt schon Wochen vor dem Auftauchen von Symptomen in Alarmbereitschaft versetzt. Die Technik von Carmentix beruht auf einer Vielzahl von Analysen der Signalwege, bei denen ein einzigartiges Panel an Biomarkern zum Einsatz kommt. Dieses Panel an patentrechtlich geschützten Markern wird es erlauben, eine Frühgeburt zwischen der 16. und 20. Schwangerschaftswoche vorherzusagen, wobei ein in hohem Maße genauer vorausberechnender Algorithmus aufgrund der Abdeckung von molekularen Flaschenhalsprozessen, die an Frühgeburten beteiligt sind, angenommen wird. Das Ziel von Carmentix ist es, eine kostengünstige Lösung zu erreichen, die stabil und genau ist und die sich weltweit an die klinischen Gegebenheiten anpassen lässt. Über die University of Melbourne und ihre Vermarktungsinitiativen Die University of Melbourne ist die beste Universität in Australien und gehört zu den weltweit führenden Hochschulen. Gemäß seiner Stellung als Zentrum für Forschung und Entwicklung mit weltweit führenden Spezialisten aus Wissenschaft, Technik und der Medizin wird in Melbourne hochmoderne Forschung betrieben, um neue Wege bei der Ideenfindung, neue Technologien und neues Wissen für den Aufbau einer besseren Zukunft zu schaffen. Forschung von Weltrang, Lösungen für die reale Welt: Die University of Melbourne bekennt sich zu einer Kultur der Innovation -- und arbeitet mit der Industrie, der Regierung, Nichtregierungsorganisationen und der Kommune zusammen, um die Herausforderungen der realen Welt zu meistern. Unsere kommerziellen Partnerschaften hauchen der Forschung Leben ein, und zwar über Zusammenarbeiten in den Bereichen Bio-Engineering, Materialentwicklung, technische Innovationen in der Medizin, Entwicklung von kommunalen Kapazitäten und Kulturunternehmen. Zu den bahnbrechenden und kommerziell umgesetzten Technologien, die an der University of Melbourne erschaffen wurden, gehören etwa Innenohrimplantat , die Stentrode (ein Instrument, das die Steuerung von Computer, Robotergliedmaße oder eines Exoskeletts mithilfe von Gedanken erlaubt), und neuartige anti-fibrotische Medikamentenkandidaten für die Behandlung von Fibrose (häufig vorkommend bei chronischen Erkrankungen, wie chronischen Nierenerkrankung, chronischen Herzinsuffizienz, Lungenfibrose und Arthritis). Die University of Melbourne pflegt enge Partnerschaften mit dem Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, CSIRO, CSL und The Royal Melbourne, Royal Children's und Royal Women's Hospitals. Mit seinen über 160 Jahren in führender Position bei Bildung und Forschung reagiert die Universität auf unmittelbare und auf zukünftige Herausforderungen, denen sich unsere Gesellschaft aufgrund des wissenschaftlichen Fortschritts gegenübersieht. Die University of Melbourne ist die Nummer 1 in Australien und steht weltweit auf Rang 31 (laut Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016).


News Article | February 22, 2017
Site: www.sciencemag.org

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON—Positive results from small clinical studies without control groups often get dismissed as anecdote, and for good reason: Many don’t pan out in more rigorous trials. But when a field suffers as much failure as the search for an AIDS vaccine has over the past 30 years, researchers sometimes celebrate glimpses of hope. That’s what happened here last week when scientists showed that a vaccine may have helped five people already infected with HIV keep the virus in check—a “functional cure” as some call it. The results, which need to be confirmed in larger studies, suggest the vaccine may boost the immune system enough to allow infected people to drive down HIV levels without taking drugs—although it’s not clear for how long. “It’s the proof of concept that through therapeutic vaccination we can really re-educate our T cells to control the virus,” says Beatriz Mothe, a clinician at IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain, who presented the results here at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. “This is the first time that we see this is possible in humans.” Despite intensive efforts and massive investments, no vaccine to prevent HIV infection has yet proved itself and come to market. Researchers have also tested so-called therapeutic vaccines, which aim to help infected people keep the virus at bay for months or even years without antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. Mothe and her colleagues tried that strategy with an HIV vaccine made by Tomáš Hanke of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. The 13 participants in the study had taken ARVs on average for 3.2 years; all had started treatment within 6 months after becoming infected, which helped keep HIV in their blood down to undetectable levels on standard tests. (More sensitive tests used solely for research purposes can detect HIV in all infected people.) The researchers theorized this had limited HIV’s ability to integrate into their chromosomes, leaving them with relatively small “reservoirs” of infected cells. This, in turn, should make it easier for them to contain the virus if ARVs are stopped—especially with a helping hand from a vaccine. After receiving a series of three shots of the vaccine, the participants stopped taking ARVs. Within 4 weeks, the virus came roaring back in eight of them. The other five, however, have now gone between 6 and 28 weeks without having to restart treatment. Each of these “controllers” has had the virus become temporarily detectable at some point, but these “blips” have never gone above 2000 copies per milliliter on two occasions—the study’s criterion for restarting ARVs. Of more than 50 therapeutic vaccine trials so far, this is the first one that has bolstered the immune system in a “meaningful” way, says Steven Deeks, an HIV/AIDS clinician and researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, who is “cautiously optimistic” that the data will inspire others to study the approach. The evidence did not bowl over immunologist Daniel Douek of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, however. “The results are encouraging, but it is difficult to gauge what the effect of the procedure actually was because of the uncontrolled nature of the study and the fact that the people who remain off [ARVs] are, nevertheless, viremic,” Douek says. But Mothe stresses that previous “treatment interruption studies” in people who started ARVs soon after becoming infected have found that only 10% control their infections for longer than 4 weeks. In this case, 38% of the participants passed that milestone. Deeks agrees. “Should the current trends persist, it is hard to argue that the vaccine strategy did not do something, but controlled studies are needed,” he says. HIV notoriously dodges immune attack—and preventive vaccination—by mutating. Deeks and others believe the trial may have been partly successful because the vaccine contains HIV genes that code for “highly conserved” internal structures and enzymes that cannot change much without harming the virus. Before the vaccination, only 4% of the participants’ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell that helps control infections) specifically targeted these conserved proteins; after vaccination, that jumped to 67%. “I’m pretty excited about this,” says Sharon Lewin, who heads the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, Australia. “But there are lots of questions.” Mothe and colleagues hope to answer them by continuing to monitor their participants and staging a larger, more rigorous trial of the concept soon.


SINGAPOUR, 9 décembre 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Carmentix Private Limited (« Carmentix ») et l'Université de Melbourne sont fiers d'annoncer l'initiative « Découverte des biomarqueurs des naissances prématurées ». Cette étude clinique collaborative vise à valider les nouveaux biomarqueurs découverts par Carmentix et ceux précédemment découverts et validés à l'Université de Melbourne dans un panel combiné, ainsi qu'à évaluer le risque de naissance prématurée dès 20 semaines de gestation. L'étude rétrospective dirigée par le Dr Harry Georgiou, PhD et la Dre Megan Di Quinzio, MD à l'Université de Melbourne validera la solidité statistique du panel de biomarqueurs innovants. « Carmentix est ravi de commencer cette collaboration, car nous sommes déterminés à développer davantage les biomarqueurs découverts sur notre plateforme unique d'exploration des données », a déclaré le Dr Nir Arbel, PDG de Carmentix. « S'il venait à être validé, ce nouveau panel de biomarqueurs pourrait répandre l'espoir de réduire significativement le nombre de cas de naissances prématurées à l'échelle mondiale. » Obstétricienne clinique et chercheuse, la Dre Di Quinzio rencontre fréquemment des mères demandant : « Pourquoi mon bébé est-il né prématurément ? » Souvent, il n'existe pas de réponses satisfaisantes. « La naissance prématurée continue de représenter un problème de santé mondial, mais malheureusement, les outils de diagnostic fiables sont insuffisants », a déclaré le Dr Georgiou, responsable scientifique à l'Université de Melbourne. « Cette initiative en collaboration avec un solide partenaire commercial contribuera à ouvrir la voie pour une approche novatrice qui permettra d'établir de meilleurs diagnostics et, avec un peu de chance, de prévenir le travail prématuré. » Carmentix est une jeune entreprise soutenue par Esco Ventures située à Singapour. Carmentix développe un panel pronostic de biomarqueurs innovants pour réduire significativement le nombre de cas de naissances prématurées en créant des outils biomoléculaires qui alerteront les cliniciens en cas de risque de naissance prématurée plusieurs semaines avant la survenue des symptômes. La technologie de Carmentix s'appuie sur une analyse des voies multiples à l'aide d'un panel unique de biomarqueurs. Ce panel de marqueurs propriétaires permettra la prédiction des naissances prématurées à 16/20 semaines de gestation, devançant un algorithme prédictif hautement précis grâce à sa couverture du processus moléculaire du goulot d'étranglement impliqué dans les naissances prématurées. L'objectif de Carmentix est d'obtenir une solution rentable qui serait robuste et précise et qui tiendra compte des contextes cliniques du monde entier. À propos de l'Université de Melbourne et de ses initiatives de commercialisation L'Université de Melbourne est la meilleure université d'Australie et l'une des plus importantes au monde. En tant que plateforme de R&D avec les plus grands spécialistes mondiaux en sciences, technologie et médecine, Melbourne entreprend des recherches de pointe pour créer de nouvelles façons de penser, de nouvelles technologies et de nouvelles expertises pour bâtir un avenir meilleur. Des chercheurs de classe mondiale, des solutions du monde réel : l'Université de Melbourne adopte une culture d'innovation en travaillant avec l'industrie, le gouvernement, des organisations non gouvernementales et la communauté pour résoudre des défis du monde réel. Nos partenariats commerciaux donnent vie à la recherche grâce à la collaboration dans les secteurs de la bio-ingénierie, du développement de matériaux, de l'innovation de technologies médicales, du développement des capacités communautaires et de l'entrepreneuriat culturel. Parmi les technologies révolutionnaires commercialisées créées à l'Université de Melbourne, citons notamment l'implant cochléaire, le stentrode (un dispositif permettant de contrôler des ordinateurs, des membres robotiques ou des exosquelettes par la pensée) et un médicament candidat antifibrotique pour le traitement de la fibrose (prévalant dans des états pathologiques chroniques tels que les maladies rénales chroniques, les insuffisances cardiaques chroniques, les fibroses pulmonaires et l'arthrite). L'Université de Melbourne est en étroit partenariat avec le Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, le Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, le CSIRO, le CSL, et l'Hôpital royal, l'Hôpital royal des enfants et l'Hôpital royal des femmes de Melbourne. Comptant plus de 160 années de leadership en matière d'éducation et de recherche, l'Université répond aux défis d'aujourd'hui et de demain auxquels notre société est confrontée grâce à l'innovation dans la recherche. L'Université de Melbourne est la 1ère université d'Australie et la 31e au monde (classement mondial des universités 2015-2016 du Times Higher Education).


SINGAPORE, Dec. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Carmentix Private Limited ("Carmentix") and the University of Melbourne are proud to announce the "Preterm Birth Biomarker Discovery" initiative. The aim of this collaborative clinical study is to validate novel biomarkers discovered by Carmentix and biomarkers previously discovered and validated at the University of Melbourne in a combined panel and to assess the risk for preterm birth as early as 20 weeks of gestation. The retrospective study led by Dr. Harry Georgiou, PhD and Dr. Megan Di Quinzio, MD at the University of Melbourne will validate the statistical strength of the novel biomarker panel. "Carmentix is excited to begin this collaboration, as we are keen to further develop the biomarkers discovered on our unique data mining platform," said Dr. Nir Arbel, CEO Carmentix. "If validated, this new panel of biomarkers may shed hope to significantly reduce the number of preterm birth cases on a global scale." Clinical Obstetrician and researcher, Dr. Di Quinzio frequently sees mothers asking "why was my baby born prematurely?" There is often no satisfactory answer. "Preterm birth continues to be a global health problem but sadly, reliable diagnostic tools are lacking," said Dr. Georgiou, scientific leader at the University of Melbourne. "This collaborative initiative with a strong commercial partner will help pave the way for a novel approach for better diagnosis and hopefully the prevention of preterm labour." Carmentix is an Esco Ventures-backed startup company based in Singapore. Carmentix is developing a novel biomarker prognostic panel to significantly reduce the numbers of preterm birth cases by establishing biomolecular tools that will alert clinicians of the preterm birth risk weeks before symptoms occur. Carmentix's technology relies on a multiple pathway analysis utilizing a unique panel of biomarkers. This panel of proprietary markers will allow the prediction of preterm birth at 16-20 weeks of gestation, anticipating a high accuracy predictive algorithm due to its coverage of bottleneck molecular process involved in preterm birth. Carmentix' goal is to achieve a cost-effective solution that would be robust and accurate, and will accommodate clinical settings worldwide. About the University of Melbourne and its commercialisation initiatives The University of Melbourne is Australia's best and one of the world's leading universities. As an R&D hub with world-leading specialists in science, technology and medicine, Melbourne undertakes cutting-edge research to create new ways of thinking, new technology and new expertise to build a better future. World-class research, real-world solutions: The University of Melbourne embraces a culture of innovation -- working with industry, government, non-governmental organisations and the community to solve real-world challenges. Our commercial partnerships bring research to life through collaboration in areas of bio-engineering, materials development, medical technology innovation, community capacity development and cultural entrepreneurship. Some of the ground-breaking commercialised technology created at the University of Melbourne includes the cochlear implant, the stentrode (a device that delivers mind control over computers, robotic limbs or exoskeletons), and novel anti-fibrotic drug candidates for the treatment of the fibrosis (prevalent in such chronic conditions as chronic kidney disease, chronic heart failure, pulmonary fibrosis and arthritis). The University of Melbourne is closely partnered with the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, CSIRO, CSL, and The Royal Melbourne, Royal Children's and Royal Women's Hospitals. With over 160 years of leadership in education and research, the University responds to immediate and future challenges facing our society through innovation in research. The University of Melbourne is No. 1 in Australia and 31 in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016).


SINGAPORE, Dec. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Carmentix Private Limited ("Carmentix") and the University of Melbourne are proud to announce the "Preterm Birth Biomarker Discovery" initiative. The aim of this collaborative clinical study is to validate novel biomarkers discovered by Carmentix and biomarkers previously discovered and validated at the University of Melbourne in a combined panel and to assess the risk for preterm birth as early as 20 weeks of gestation. The retrospective study led by Dr. Harry Georgiou, PhD and Dr. Megan Di Quinzio, MD at the University of Melbourne will validate the statistical strength of the novel biomarker panel. "Carmentix is excited to begin this collaboration, as we are keen to further develop the biomarkers discovered on our unique data mining platform," said Dr. Nir Arbel, CEO Carmentix. "If validated, this new panel of biomarkers may shed hope to significantly reduce the number of preterm birth cases on a global scale." Clinical Obstetrician and researcher, Dr. Di Quinzio frequently sees mothers asking "why was my baby born prematurely?" There is often no satisfactory answer. "Preterm birth continues to be a global health problem but sadly, reliable diagnostic tools are lacking," said Dr. Georgiou, scientific leader at the University of Melbourne. "This collaborative initiative with a strong commercial partner will help pave the way for a novel approach for better diagnosis and hopefully the prevention of preterm labour." Carmentix is an Esco Ventures-backed startup company based in Singapore. Carmentix is developing a novel biomarker prognostic panel to significantly reduce the numbers of preterm birth cases by establishing biomolecular tools that will alert clinicians of the preterm birth risk weeks before symptoms occur. Carmentix's technology relies on a multiple pathway analysis utilizing a unique panel of biomarkers. This panel of proprietary markers will allow the prediction of preterm birth at 16-20 weeks of gestation, anticipating a high accuracy predictive algorithm due to its coverage of bottleneck molecular process involved in preterm birth. Carmentix' goal is to achieve a cost-effective solution that would be robust and accurate, and will accommodate clinical settings worldwide. About the University of Melbourne and its commercialisation initiatives The University of Melbourne is Australia's best and one of the world's leading universities. As an R&D hub with world-leading specialists in science, technology and medicine, Melbourne undertakes cutting-edge research to create new ways of thinking, new technology and new expertise to build a better future. World-class research, real-world solutions: The University of Melbourne embraces a culture of innovation -- working with industry, government, non-governmental organisations and the community to solve real-world challenges. Our commercial partnerships bring research to life through collaboration in areas of bio-engineering, materials development, medical technology innovation, community capacity development and cultural entrepreneurship. Some of the ground-breaking commercialised technology created at the University of Melbourne includes the cochlear implant, the stentrode (a device that delivers mind control over computers, robotic limbs or exoskeletons), and novel anti-fibrotic drug candidates for the treatment of the fibrosis (prevalent in such chronic conditions as chronic kidney disease, chronic heart failure, pulmonary fibrosis and arthritis). The University of Melbourne is closely partnered with the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, CSIRO, CSL, and The Royal Melbourne, Royal Children's and Royal Women's Hospitals. With over 160 years of leadership in education and research, the University responds to immediate and future challenges facing our society through innovation in research. The University of Melbourne is No. 1 in Australia and 31 in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016).


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

Melbourne researchers have used cutting-edge genomics technology to prove that a strain of bacteria can be transmitted to patients from machines that are generally employed in the regulation of body temperature during cardiac surgery. Mycobacterium chimaera is a pathogen previously associated with LivaNova Stöckert 3T cooling and heating units in the hospitals across the Northern Hemisphere. The infection could be responsible for serious illness, and three cases have already been reported in Australia, two of which were in New South Wales, while the third one was identified in Queensland. As part of a collaboration between sites across New Zealand and Australia, scientists from the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity have proven that the units were the ones responsible for the bacterial transmission that infected the patients, according to the press release. After having analyzed 48 samples of Mycobacterium chimaera collected between May 2015 and July 2016, the researchers published their results in the New England Journal of Medicine. The samples employed in the analysis were collected from cooling and heating units, and five of them were retrieved from patients. "To test this hypothesis, we compared the M. chimaera genome data from our patient with recently released sequences from tests of heating and cooling units in the Northern Hemisphere. We found a high level of DNA sequence conservation; this finding was again consistent with pathogen spread from a point source," noted the research. The deputy director of the institute, Dr. Deborah Williamson, declared that the researchers believe the units had been pre-contaminated during the manufacturing process. Additionally, the pathogen is "very hardy," according to the director's statement, and symptoms may be delayed because of the latent infection it causes once installed in the human body. The researchers will employ whole-genome sequencing technology in the process of creating a fast diagnostic test that could be reliable for possible patients. This immediate preoccupation of the researchers will be helped by data sharing of national and international institutions in this field of activity. "Our observations highlight the potential for global dissemination of contaminated medical devices, including to regions such as Australia and New Zealand. These data show the value of combining high-resolution molecular analysis and public sharing of sequence data to improve responses to outbreaks that have potential public health importance," concluded the paper. At the same time, CDC warns health care providers, as well as patients, concerning the potential risk of infection due to some devices employed in open heart surgeries. Patients who have gone through an open heart surgery and experience symptoms of infection, such as muscle aches, night sweats, fatigue, weight loss, or unexplained fever, are advised to seek medical care. Every year, more than 250,000 bypass procedures are performed across the United States, each of which uses heater-cooler devices. The units are highly important in these surgeries, as they allow the patients' blood to circulate, and they keep their organs at a very specific temperature during the operation. "Approximately 60 percent of heart bypass procedures performed in the U.S. utilize the devices that have been associated with these infections. CDC estimates that in hospitals where at least one infection has been identified, the risk of a patient getting an infection from the bacteria was between about 1 in 100 and 1 in 1,000," notes the CDC website. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | February 8, 2017
Site: www.medicalnewstoday.com

Australian researchers are a step closer to understanding immune sensitivities to well-known, and commonly prescribed, medications. Many drugs are successfully used to treat diseases, but can also have harmful side effects. While it has been known that some drugs can unpredictably impact on the functioning of the immune system, our understanding of this process has been unclear. The team investigated what drugs might activate a specialised type of immune cell, the MAIT cell (Mucosal associated invariant T cell). They found that some drugs prevented the MAIT cells from detecting infections (their main role in our immune system), while other drugs activated the immune system, which may be undesirable. The results, published in Nature Immunology overnight, may lead to a much better understanding of, and an explanation for, immune reactions by some people to certain kinds of drugs. The findings may also offer a way to control the actions of MAIT cells in certain illnesses for more positive patient outcomes. The multidisciplinary team of researchers are part of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging, and stem from Monash University, The University of Melbourne and The University of Queensland. Access to national research infrastructure, including the Australian synchrotron, was instrumental to the success of this Australian research team. Dr Andrew Keller from Monash University's Biomedicine Discovery Institute said that T cells are an integral part of the body's immune system. "They protect the body by 'checking' other cells for signs of infection and activating the immune system when they detect an invader," he said. "This arrangement is dependent on both the T cells knowing what they're looking for, and the other cells in the body giving them useful information." PhD student Weijun Xu from The University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience used computer modelling to predict chemical structures, drugs and drug-like molecules that might impact on MAIT cell function. Such small compounds included salicylates, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like diclofenac, and drug metabolites. University of Melbourne Dr Sidonia Eckle from the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity said the implications point to possible links between known drug hypersensitivities and MAIT cells. "A greater understanding of the interaction between MAIT cells and other host cells will hopefully allow us to better predict and avoid therapeutics that influence and cause harm," she said. "It also offers the tantalising prospect of future therapies that manipulate MAIT cell behaviour, for example, by enhancing or suppressing immune responses to achieve beneficial clinical outcome." Article: Drugs and drug-like molecules can modulate the function of mucosal-associated invariant T cells, Andrew N Keller, Sidonia B G Eckle, Weijun Xu, Ligong Liu, Victoria A Hughes, Jeffrey Y W Mak, Bronwyn S Meehan, Troi Pediongco, Richard W Birkinshaw, Zhenjun Chen, Huimeng Wang, Criselle D'Souza, Lars Kjer-Nielsen, Nicholas A Gherardin, Dale I Godfrey, Lyudmila Kostenko, Alexandra J Corbett, Anthony W Purcell, David P Fairlie, James McCluskey & Jamie Rossjohn, Nature Immunology, doi:10.1038/ni.3679, published online 6 February 2017.


News Article | April 22, 2016
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

Melbourne researchers have uncovered the genes responsible for the way the body fights infection at the point of 'invasion' - whether it's the skin, liver, lungs or the gut. Research led by Dr. Axel Kallies and Dr. Klaas van Gisbergen at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, and Dr. Laura Mackay from the University of Melbourne at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity has identified the genes Hobit and Blimp1 and found that these genes control a universal molecular program responsible for placing immune cells at the 'front lines' of the body to fight infection and cancer. The presence of these organ-residing cells, which differ strikingly from their counterparts circulating in the blood stream, is key to local protection against viruses and bacteria. Walter and Eliza Hall Institute's Dr. Kallies said the human body was fighting disease-causing pathogens every minute of its life. Dr. Kallies said identifying how immune cells remain in the part of the body where they are needed most was critical to developing better ways to protect us from infections such as malaria or HIV. "Discovering these 'local heroes' and knowing how the localised immune response is established allows us to find ways to ensure the required cells are positioned where they are needed most," Dr. Kallies said. "This research will help us understand how immune cells adapt, survive and respond within the organs they protect. This is critical to rid the body of pathogens even before they are established and may also have implications for understanding how the spread of cancer could be prevented." The Doherty Institute's Dr. Laura Mackay, who is also an associate investigator with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging, said the factors that control the 'tissue-residency' of immune cells - their ability to locally reside in different organs of the body - was previously unknown. "These results have major implications for developing strategies to induce immune cells in tissues that protect against infectious diseases," Dr. Mackay said. "It's a crucial discovery for future vaccine strategies - Hobit and Blimp1 would be key to placing immune cells in the tissues, which we know are really important for protection." The findings have just been published in the journal Science.

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