Two Australian scientists have each been given $1.25 million over five years through the CSL Centenary Fellowship program to assist their research into new potentially life-saving medical procedures.
Sarah-Jane Dawson, an associate professor with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, is developing simple, gentler, more thorough blood tests for a wide range of cancers, as an alternative to tissue biopsies.
Fragments of DNA shed by tumour cells into a cancer patient’s blood stream are identified by the tests, eliminating the need for painful tissue extractions.
She says the tests will help in every phase of treatment, quickly identifying the type of cancer, tailoring treatment to the individual, monitoring their progress, and — once the patient has completed treatment — checking for signs of relapse.
Andrew Murphy, associate professor at Melbourne’s The Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, in investigating what happens in our bodies at the vascular level when high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lack of exercise and smoking drive the overproduction of white blood cells, which can lead a greater chance of heart attack or stroke.
He believes his research could lead to a new generation of drugs to fight cardiovascular disease, along with a therapy that might encourage bone marrow to make more blood stem cells when we need them for cancer treatment.
Jeff Glorfeld is a former senior editor of The Age newspaper in Australia, and is now a freelance journalist based in California, US.
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