Tag Archives: Eureka Prizes

Making blood on demand

‘Buddy’ cells that trigger blood stem cells to fully-develop have been discovered by a team of Australian scientists. The finding, in zebrafish, may hold the key to creating blood on demand in the lab.

Everyday medical procedures can require litres of donated blood; and blood stem cells – which can turn into any one of the different types of blood cell – are often used in treatments for leukaemia, lymphoma, and other blood cancers.

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Vitamin B reveals the role of mystery gut immune cells

An accidental discovery by Melbourne researchers has revealed the purpose of ‘mystery’ immune cells in the gut, shown how our immune system interacts with the complex bacteria ecology found there, and opened new paths for drug discovery.

T cell activation by transitory antigens. Credit: Jeffrey Mak, University of Queensland

Our guts, lungs and mouths are lined with mysterious immune cells that make up to 10 per cent of the T cells in our immune system. These immune cells, known as mucosal-associated invariant T cells (MAITs), detect reactive intermediates in the synthesis of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) that is made by many invasive bacteria and fungi.

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A bug that stops dengue

Dengue fever is on the march and threatening the growing populations of Asia and even northern Australia. But a ‘vaccine’ for mosquitoes could stop it in its tracks.

Photo: A new ‘vaccine’ could stop mosquitos spreading dengue fever. Credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim, Wikimedia, GNU Free Documentation Licence

A team of researchers from Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns and Brazil has found a bacterium, Wolbachia, in fruit flies, which could stop mosquitoes from spreading dengue.

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Walking again

Children with a deadly muscle-wasting disease are regaining the ability to walk and potentially avoiding life-threatening complications, thanks to a new treatment developed by researchers at Perth’s Murdoch University.

Photo: Steve Wilton and Sue Fletcher’s drug therapy is helping children who suffer from Duchenne muscular dystrophy stay active. Credit: Murdoch University

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