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Centenary Institute - Medical Research

Prime 7 News interviews Professor Phil Hansbro

Professor Phil Hansbro, Deputy Director at the Centenary Institute and Director of the Centenary UTS Centre for Inflammation has been interviewed by Prime7 News on his new study that will be focused on exploring the health impacts of people’s exposure to bushfire smoke.

The study, a collaboration between the Centenary Institute and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), will assess how bushfire smoke affects the airways, lungs and other organs and will determine what the long-term consequences of this exposure could be.

Click here to view the Prime7 news story online.

Click here to find out more about Professor Hansbro and his respiratory and inflammation based research.

Pathway to eliminating antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis in the Pacific

Australian researchers, including from the Centenary Institute have been awarded funding for a major project that aims to eliminate both active and latent tuberculosis (TB) found on Kiribati, an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean. The project will also support multidrug-resistant TB control education and management through the Pacific region.

Led by Professor Barend Marais of the University of Sydney, Professor Warwick Britton AO, Head of the Centenary Institute’s Tuberculosis Research Program will be a Chief Investigator (CIB) on the project with colleagues from the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Tuberculosis Control.

“A TB hotspot, Kiribati has extremely high rates of tuberculosis. The capital Tarawa, one of the most densely populated areas in the Pacific, has a TB incidence rate among the highest in the world,” said Professor Britton.

“Our project will ensure that every person over the age of 2 will be screened for TB disease or infection in Tarawa with appropriate treatment strategies then implemented. Our integrated project will also provide a pathway towards drug resistant TB prevention and TB elimination  more broadly within the Pacific, through a program of training and mentoring.”

“Overall, this program will be a catalyst in regional TB elimination efforts, helping save lives and overcoming a disease which has devastating impact on communities,” he said.

The Federal Government’s announcement regarding the project funding can be accessed online.

TB is a leading cause of death globally responsible for approximately 1.5 million deaths annually.

Read more about Professor Britton and his research here.

Image Credit: Vladimir Lysenko. https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39278217

Impact of bushfire smoke on health to be studied

Understanding the long-term health impacts of bushfire smoke will be the focus of a new study being undertaken at the Centenary Institute and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

The study, funded by the Medical Research Future Fund’s (MRFF) Bushfire Impact Research grants program will seek to better understand the physiological impacts of prolonged bushfire smoke exposure, to improve health outcomes for Australians.

Professor Phil Hansbro, Deputy Director at the Centenary Institute as well as Director of the Centenary UTS Centre for Inflammation was the successful recipient of the grant and will be leading a team of specialist respiratory disease researchers and clinicians on the project.

“The true extent of bushfire smoke on people is still largely unknown,” said Professor Hansbro. “We just don’t know the full impact on people resulting from prolonged smoke inhalation or if short term effects resolve after the exposure ends. There is a real knowledge gap as to what level of smoke exposure is likely ok and what level may lead to adverse health effects, particularly for the more vulnerable in our society.”

For this study, the research team will explore the short and prolonged physiological effects of bushfire smoke using mouse models and primary human cells and tissues. Assessed will be how bushfire smoke affects the airways, lungs and other organs and what the long-term consequences of this exposure could be.

Potential smoke impact on healthy individuals and those with common pre-existing respiratory disease such as asthma, emphysema and lung cancer will also be explored. “Ideally from our study, we’ll be able to help define safe levels of bushfire smoke exposure across all of these population groups,” said Professor Hansbro.

The researchers will then use their findings to evaluate new prevention strategies and treatment measures. This will include the appraisal of anti-inflammatory drugs already in pre-clinical development that can be taken to help mitigate the effects of excessive bushfire smoke inhalation. The aim is to implement the study findings into practice, as quickly as is practically possible.

Professor Hansbro is grateful for the opportunity provided by the federal government.

“Bushfires and smoke are a constant feature of the Australian environment and will continue to impact many of us, whether in the bush, towns or larger cities. Our research will lead to improved knowledge in this critical area ultimately leading to improved health and wellbeing outcomes for many Australians,” he said.

More information on the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund and its funding of research into the health effects of bushfires can be found online.

Read the full media release here.