Archived News for Research Sector Professionals - June, 2012
The Beef Co-operative Research Centre at Armidale in NSW will close at the end of June, having failed to secure ongoing funding.
The Beef CRC was established in 1993 to identify the genetic and non-genetic factors affecting beef quality and other production traits of economic importance.
It has focused the work of more than 100 Australian scientists from 10 different institutions across 12 research locations in most states.
The Australian National University and the Research School of Physics and Engineering have announced a joint collaboration that will see the construction of a pioneering plasma thruster, an engine that could be used to power satellites as far as Mars. The collaboration will also see the construction of a space simulation facility at Mt Stromio Observatory.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US has awarded a grant of A$4.48 million to researchers from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) and Rempex Pharmaceuticals in California to design and develop new antibiotics that are effective against bacterial ‘superbugs’ that cause life-threatening infections and are resistant to all current antibiotics.
The grant is the third large RO1 grant received over the last five years.
Antibiotic resistance is an urgent global medical challenge. Currently, a class of antibiotics known as polymyxins are used to treat multidrug-resistant bacteria. However infections that are unresponsive to this last-line therapy have recently been reported in many countries.
The MIPS team comprises Associate Professor Jian Li, Dr Tony Velkov, Professor Roger Nation, Associate Professor Philip Thompson and Dr Kade Roberts. Associate Professor Li and Professor Nation have been investigating polymyxins for more than a decade and are regarded as international leaders in the field.
Rempex is a San Diego based pharmaceutical company focused exclusively on developing drugs to combat emerging antibiotic resistance.
Dr Li, the Program Director of the project, said timing was critical as rising resistance to polymyxins would mean virtually a complete lack of treatment options for some life-threatening infections.
"It is not an exaggeration to state that the world is on the brink of a return to the pre-antibiotic era," Associate Professor Li said.
"In recent decades, bacteria that are resistant to all available antibiotics have emerged, while at the same time there has been a marked decline in the search for new drugs to combat these superbugs."
The five year project will design and develop new antibiotics to address bacterial resistance, and allow successful treatment of acute and chronic infections.
"We're aiming to develop at least one new drug candidate for future clinical trials," Associate Professor Li said.
Senior Vice President for Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer at Rempex Michael Dudley Pharm. D, said that industry-academic partnerships would be a very important mechanism for developing new antiinfectives for development.
“Rempex is looking forward to working with the MIPS team on identifying new drug candidates to meet the serious challenge of antibiotic resistance," Dr Dudley said.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America has identified a 'hit-list' of six multidrug-resistant bacteria as being the most difficult to treat. These bacteria will be targeted by the MIPS researchers and their Rempex collaborators in California.
Global data specialist Thompson Reuters has announced 12 Australian researchers to receive Citation Awards in recognition of their outstanding contribution to their respective fields of research. In addition to nominating the cohort of excellence, the company has also recognised seven Australian orgaisations for their excellence in innovation.
Griffith University has announced its medical researchers are ‘on the brink’ of an effective treatment for the deadly Hendra virus and its closely related Nipah virus.
The NSW Government has committed an additional $70 million over the next four years to medical research and development in response to the NSW Health and Medical Research Strategic Review 2012 released by NSW Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research, Jillian Skinner.
The University of New England is set to become a regional mental health research hub following the announcement of a $4.8 million Collaborative Research Network (CRN) project.
The Federal Government has announced new funding of $3 million for eight projects to enable scientists to conduct critical research into the Hendra virus, following a fresh outbreak in Queensland.