Monday, 6 March 2017

3MT presentation - Stuart Emerson talks about pelvic organ prolapse.

Watch Stuart's presentation...

Combination of ground-breaking treatments offer powerful new path for blood cancer therapies

Associate Professor Jake Shortt, Monash University
Researchers at Monash University and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre have identified for the first time how a new class of epigenetic drug engages with the immune system to kill off cancer cells, offering powerful new pathways for enhanced blood cancer therapies.

BET-inhibitors are a relatively new class of drug which work to ‘switch off’ important cancer-causing genes expressed within tumour cells. International clinical trials of BET-inhibitors for the treatment of blood cancers, such as Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, are now underway including at Monash and Peter Mac.  However to date, this research has focused on the direct effects of the drugs in inducing cancer cell death and understanding how resistance emerges.

In research published last week in Cell Reports, the team at Peter Mac and Monash have demonstrated the potential for combining ground-breaking epigenetic and immune-based treatments for more potent results.

Experiments conducted as part of the research, showed that immune-competent mice with lymphoma had a far greater response to BET-inhibitors than their immune-deficient counterparts.

In addition to their primary function, the research showed the BET inhibitors were able to ‘switch off’ a protein called PD-L1, which is used by tumour cells to hide from the immune system. Through this mechanism, the BET-inhibitors were making tumour cells more sensitive to attack from the immune system.

The power of an activated immune system in eliminating tumour cells has been proven through ‘blockbuster’ drugs such as ‘Keytruda’ and ‘Opdivo’, which also target the PD-L1 pathway. Building on this knowledge, this research confirmed that the combinations of BET-inhibitor with other immune therapies work better in lymphoma than either therapy alone.

Based on laboratory research performed at Peter Mac, the Monash team is currently trialling a combination of a different epigenetic drug called Dinaciclib with the anti-PD1 therapy, Keytruda in relapsed lymphoma, myeloma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia with further clinical trials for the combination therapy likely to emerge as a result of this research.

This research was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia; Victorian Cancer Agency; Cancer Council Victoria; Snowdome Foundation, The Kids Cancer Project, and Roche. Core technologies enabling the research are supported by the Australian Cancer Research Foundation and Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation.

International Women's Day event at MMC, 8 March

All staff are invited to a special event to celebrate International Women’s Day and the 2017 theme of ‘Be Bold for Change’.
Listen to inspiring guest speaker Dr Susan Carland and join us in acknowledging the extraordinary achievements of Monash Health women who have been ‘Bold for Change’.

Wednesday 8 March, 1.45pm - 3.30pm.  Lecture Theatre 1 at Monash Medical Centre  

Euan Wallace's Monash Health farewell - 3pm–4pm, Thursday 9 March

World Kidney Day, 9 March

Celebrated every year on the second Thursday of March, World Kidney Day (WKD)
is the global awareness campaign that aims at increasing awareness of the importance of our
kidneys to our health and reduce the impact of kidney disease and its associated problems

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a non-communicable disease that affects 1 in 10 people
worldwide. While severity can vary, CKD is incurable and causes the patient to need lifelong
care. As the incidence of kidney disease escalates, World Kidney Day plays a crucial al role in educating the public, the medical community and governments and encouraging prevention and early detection of kidney disease.

Join us in our walk - see details HERE.

Walk with MonashHealth Nephrology 9 March - World Kidney Day

Help us raise awareness about the importance of kidney health on World Kidney Day, 9 March.

You are invited to join the "Walk with MonashHealth Nephrology" at 1pm, Thursday 9 March from the main entrance of Monash Medical Centre, Clayton.

Bring your friends, colleagues and walking shoes.  We will walk to the Fregon Reserve and back (total distance 1.5km) as we join in the global campaign to raise awareness about the importance of a healthy lifestyle for healthy kidneys.

All participants will receive a FREE day at Healthwise & Fitness Centre (Clayton, Dandenong or Kingston) during Kidney Week (9-16 March 2017).  Collect your free pass on the day!

Did you know?

  • 10% of the global population is affected by Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).
  • 600 million people in the world are affected by obesity, 220 million of whom are schoolaged children. 
  • Individuals affected by obesity have an 83% increased risk of CKD, compared to individuals with a healthy weight. 
  • Obesity is a well-established risk factor for developing major precursors to CKD and ESRD, such as diabetes, hypertension and kidney stones 
  • Strategies to reduce excess weight and prevent the development of diabetes mellitus, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, will reduce the risk of kidney disease

For more information, contact the Department of Nephrology: 9594 3520/3529.

Snapshots of the immune system – Day of Immunology photography exhibition – Call for Submissions!

CID Weekly Seminar Series: Presented by Dr Sarah Jones and Dr Poh-Yi Gan, 7 March

Tuesday 7 March, 12:00 - 12:30pm, Seminar Room 1, TRF Building

New directions in GILZ research: shining a light on an important new target for treatment of autoimmune diseases
Dr Sarah Jones
Research Fellow, Centre for Inflammatory Diseases

For years our group has sought to identify and characterise a safer alternative to glucocorticoids (“steroids”) for treatment of patients with autoimmune diseases, particularly systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). GILZ has emerged as a strong candidate, with important roles in regulating activation and effector function in multiple types of immune cells that contribute to disease pathogenesis. I will highlight some new directions for our research, and steps we are taking on the pathway to clinical translation of our work. 

Expanding endogenous antigen specific T regulatory cells as therapy in autoimmune anti-MPO GN
Dr Poh-Yi Gan
Research Fellow, Centre for Inflammatory Diseases

Myeloperoxidase anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antigen associated glomerulonephritis (MPO-ANCA GN) is a major cause of renal failure. Despite current therapies, this disease has considerable therapeutic toxicities and a 30% mortality at five years. This disease has been shown to result from autoimmunity to MPO in neutrophil lysosomes. Recent advances in the biological manipulation of autoimmunity by induction of therapeutic regulatory T cells (Tregs) offers more specific, safer, alternative therapies. An emerging strategy for enhancing immunomoulation to autoantigens after the development of autoimmunity has been to re-present the autoantigenic immunodominant peptides into physiological homeostatic pathways of apoptotic cell clearance.

A light lunch is served prior to the seminar at 11:45am in the seminar room foyer, level 2, TRF Building.
Further information, including the link to add the seminar series to your google calendar, is available from CID Weekly Seminar Series website []

The Ritchie Centre Special Seminar: Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy and Intrinsic Vulnerability, 7 March

Professor Hannah Kinney
Tuesday 7 March, 12-1pm, Lecture Theatre 1, Monash Medical Centre

Presented by Professor Hannah Kinney MD, Professor of Pathology and Assistant Professor Richard Goldstein MD, Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Hannah's research is directed at defining the causes of SIDS. Hannah and her team are testing the idea that SIDS, or a subset of SIDS, is due to a developmental brainstem defect in autonomic and/or respiratory control during sleep. Focusing specifically on the arcuate nucleus in the ventral medulla area of the brainstem -- important in the detection of carbon dioxide and other respiratory and blood pressure responses -- her team has identified abnormalities that put an infant at risk for sudden death during sleep. 

Hannah's studies have led to an expanded hypothesis concerning the role of the developing ventral medulla in SIDS: SIDS, or a subset of SIDS, is due to a developmental abnormality in a ventral network composed of rhombic-lip derived, serotonergic neurons, and that this abnormality results in a failure of protective responses to life-threatening challenges (e.g., asphyxia, hypoxia, hypercapnia) during sleep. She has published over 160 peer reviewed manuscripts from her work, including her seminal 1994 paper on “The Triple Risk Model” which is still used to define our basic understanding of SIDS mechanisms.

Richard is the Director of Robert's program - a service which provides support to families who have lost a child under 3 years of age. 

There will be opportunities to speak with Hannah and Rick on the day - please contact Rosemary Horne ( if you would like to make a time.

Department of Immunology seminar series: Infection-Induced Tertiary Germinal Centres, 7 March

Presented by Dr Michelle Linterman,
Group Leader, Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK

Tuesday 7 March, 11am-12pm, Lecture Theatre, Level 5, Alfred Centre

Michelle Linterman is a group leader at Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK. Her principle research focus is on how different cell types collaborate in the
germinal centre to generate a robust antibody response following vaccination.

Michelle received her PhD in Immunology from the Australian National University in Canberra, where she investigated a novel mechanism of immunological tolerance with Prof. Carola Vinuesa. Michelle did a post-doc with Prof. Ken Smith at the University of Cambridge, where she described a population of regulatory T cells within the germinal centre.

Germinal centre-like structures can form in nonlymphoid tissues following infection, but the requirements for their formation and function are not well characterized; in particular how peripheral tissues are remodeled by infection to facilitate the recruitment of lymphocytes and establish de novo a stromal network. This seminar will focus on how influenza-induced lung germinal centres are formed, and whether these structures follow the same rules as their counterparts in secondary lymphoid tissues.

PhD confirmation milestone, Sarah Moody, 16 March

All staff and students are invited to Sarah Moody's confirmation milestone.

16 March at 10am, Hudson Institute Level 2 meeting room.

Title:  Investigating the effects of TGFBeta signalling on epigenetic regulation of germ cells during fetal development

Synopsis:  Fetal germ cell development is a complex process which includes epigenetic reprogramming.  The PIWI/piRNA pathway is crucial for the repression of transposable elements during this time, and little is known about how methylation is controlled.  TGFbeta signalling is an important pathway involved in testis development and my project will test the hypothesis that changes in TGFbeta signalling will alter PIWI/piRNA machinery synthesis. 

Supervisors:  Prof. Kate Loveland and Dr Patrick Western

"Euglycemic Diabetic Ketoacidosis In Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus;The Achilles Heel Of The SGLT2 Inhibitors?", 9th March

The talk presented at the Diabetes Unit Educational Meeting on 9th March will be by Dr Shamil Cooray, Diabetes and Female Reproductive Fellow at MMC.  

This year he will be exploring the interface between Diabetes, the Metabolic Syndrome, and Pregnancy.

9 March, 8am-9am, Diabetes Centre, Special Medicine Building

“Animal Use in Research & Teaching” – Friday 31 March

Monash University requires that:
•    All new research staff and students using live animals complete the
information session “Animal Use in Research and Teaching”.
•    Researchers, Teachers and students must have attended or enrolled
in the next available session to be named on an animal ethics application.

Date: Friday 31 March 2017
Time: 10am – 12:30pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre S10, 16 Rainforest Walk, Clayton Campus

Register on-line -

Call for Applications - Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund Round 1

The Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund aims to support those in the early stages of health and medical research to translate their work into health and economic outcomes. 

The Victorian Cancer Agency is pleased to pass on a call for applications to the Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund.

Please visit for more details.

Please note this is not a Victorian Cancer Agency funded initiative.

House sitter required for 1 week in April 2017

Graham Jenkin (OBG/ Ritchie Centre)  is looking for a house sitter(s) to take care of his home in Mount Waverley in Early April for a week.   This includes looking after Graham's 14 month old Golden Retriever, Tess, and dark tabby cat, Jazz, while he visits Vietnam for a week. Tess needs walking every day by an experienced dog walker; Jazz just needs food and a cuddle.

The house backs onto a reserve, providing a great outlook and an interesting place to walk the dog. The garden, heated pool and spa will need minimal care for that period.

The house is a short walk to shops, Mount Waverley train station and bus services direct to Monash and MMC.

Please contact or visit him at The Ritchie Centre, Level 5 TRF if you are interested.

Outcomes After Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention for ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction Caused by Ectatic Infarct Related Arteries

Wally Ahmar et al. published in Heart, Lung & Circulation.

Read article here.

Reducing confusion about post-cardiotomy delirium

Yahya Shehabi et al. published in Critical Care and Resuscitation.

Read article here.

Leydig cell hyperplasia in children: Case series and review.

Chris Kimber et al. published in the Journal of Pediatric Urology.

Read article here.

Bone turnover markers: Defining a therapeutic target.

Peter Ebeling et al. published in Clinical Biochemistry.

Read article here.

Computational modelling of bone fracture healing under partial weight-bearing exercise

Peter Ebeling et al. published in Medical Engineering & Physics.

Read article here.

Periodic limb movements and restless legs syndrome in children with a history of prematurity.

Sarah Biggs, Gillian Nixon et al. published in Sleep Medicine.

Read article here.

Glioblastoma presenting as spontaneous intracranial haemorrhage: Case report and review of the literature.

Ronil Chandra et al. published in the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience.

Read article here.

A Small Cohort Omega-3 PUFA Supplement Study: Implications of Stratifying According to Lipid Membrane Incorporation in Cardiac Surgical Patients

Julian Smith et al. published in Heart, Lung & Circulation.

Read article here.

Sex Differences in Long-Term Mortality After Stroke in the INSTRUCT (INternational STRoke oUtComes sTudy): A Meta-Analysis of Individual Participant Data

Amanda Thrift, Dominique Cadilhac et al. published in Circulation. Cardiovascular and Quality Outcomes.

Read article here.

Periorbital papules as a presenting sign in multiple myeloma with AL amyloidosis.

George Grigoriadis et al. published in BMJ Case Reports.

Read article here.

Autophagy and inflammasomes

James Harris et al. published in Molecular Immunology.

Read article here.

Human amnion epithelial cells rescue cell death via immunomodulation of microglia in a mouse model of perinatal brain injury

Bryan Leaw et al. published in Stem Cell Research & Therapy.

Read article here.

Quality of Acute Care and Long-Term Quality of Life and Survival The Australian Stroke Clinical Registry

Dominique Cadilhac et al. published in Stroke.

Read article here.

Lung ultrasound during the initiation of breathing in healthy term and late preterm infants immediately after birth, a prospective, observational study

Douglas Blank et al. published in Resuscitation.

Read article here.

Effectiveness of an Intervention to Improve Risk Factor Knowledge in Patients With Stroke

Muideen Olaiya et al. published in Stroke.

Read article here.

High Rates of potentially infectious exposures between immunocompromised patients and their companion animals: An unmet need for education

Claire Dendle, Ian Woolley et al. published in the Internal Medicine Journal.

Read article here.

Knowledge of risk factors for diabetes or cardiovascular disease (CVD) is poor among individuals with risk factors for CVD

Monique Kilkenny et al. published in PlosOne.

Read article here.

International Epidemiological Differences in Acute Poisonings in Pediatric Emergency Departments

Simon Craig et al. published in Pediatric Emergency Care.

Read article here.

Detection and assessment of brain injury in the growth restricted fetus and neonate

Atul Malhotra et al. published in Pediatric Research.

Read article here.

The mental health status of refugees and asylum seekers attending a refugee health clinic including comparisons with a matched sample of Australian-born residents

Frances Shawyer et al. published in BMC Psychiatry.

Read article here.

Classification of Different Degrees of Disability Following Intracerebral Hemorrhage: A Decision Tree Analysis from VISTA-ICH Collaboration

Thanh Phan et al. published in Frontiers in Neurology.

Read article here.

Creatine biosynthesis and transport by the term human placenta

Hayley Dickinson et al. published in Placenta.

Read article here.