Researchers are recruiting volunteers for a clinical trial they hope will improve survival rates for an aggressive form of breast cancer that affects about 1,500 women each year in New South Wales.
The trial will test a new strategy in cancer treatment: using a new therapy to target a ‘defence switch’ on cancer cells that alerts cancer to the threat of chemotherapy.
The trial aims to improve survival rates for patients with triple negative breast cancer, a treatment-resistant form of cancer that can quickly adapt against chemotherapy. It will commence in August.
It will be led by Associate Professor Christine Chaffer and Dr Beatriz San Juan from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, and Senior Staff Specialist in medical oncology Dr Rachel Dear of St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney. The trial will be conducted at The Kinghorn Cancer Centre in Darlinghurst.
Modelling shows urgent need to revamp hiring and working conditions for astronomers
It will take until at least 2080 before women make up just one-third of Australia’s professional astronomers, an analysis published today in the journal Nature Astronomy reveals.
“Astronomers have been leaders in gender equity initiatives, but our programs are not working fast enough,” says Professor Lisa Kewley, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D).
Kewley is also an ARC Laureate Fellow at the Australian National University’s Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics. She developed workforce forward modelling that can predict the fraction of women at all levels in astronomy from 2021 to 2060, given different initiatives in hiring or retention. The models show that Australia’s university leadership need to adopt 50:50 or affirmative action hiring and introduce exit surveys and retention initiatives.
“With these initiatives we can reach one-third women in 11 years, growing to 50 per cent in 25,” she said.
Opportunities for alternative livelihoods in fishing communities in Indonesia are being investigated by a team of Indonesian and Australian scientists.
They’re working to understand fisheries and the options for women in coastal areas, while reducing the pressure on targeted marine resources.
Small-scale fisheries are an important source of food security and income in developing countries. Many are also growing into international exporters, but they can place a huge strain on fish populations.
Deep underground in rural Victoria, Matteo Volpi is searching for evidence of the cosmic glue that holds the Universe together: dark matter.
Matteo is taking the initial measurements for the study at Stawell Gold Mine where an international team is set to construct a $3.5 million laboratory more than a kilometre underground.
Understanding dark matter is regarded as one of the most important questions of modern particle physics.
“If we nail it, it’s a Nobel Prize winning experiment,” says the project leader Elisabetta Barberio, a University of Melbourne physicist and chief investigator of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP).
Only 10 per cent of prostate cancers are lethal, but which ones? Australian researchers have tracked the mutations that drive the cancer to spread through the body, and eventually become lethal.
The research shows they can be detected in the original tumour and even in blood samples. Testing the DNA of prostate cancer cells may help clinicians in the future identify which cancers need to be urgently removed and which ones might simply be monitored.
“Some advanced cancer cells evolve the ability to break away from their original location, travel through the bloodstream and create secondary tumours in another part of the body,” explains Clare Sloggett, Bioinformatician and Research Fellow at the Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative (VLSCI). “Cells in this state of metastasis are the most deadly.”
The 2004 Boxing Day tsunami devastated coastal communities around the Indian Ocean and left people asking what are the risks of future tsunamis and super storms? The answers can be found, at least in part, in the prehistory of coastlines.
Pain relief during childbirth may soon be delivered via a self-administered nasal spray, thanks to research from University of South Australia midwifery researcher, Dr Julie Fleet.
Well known for its use in delivering pain relief to children and in managing pain in patients being transferred by ambulance, the nasal spray analgesic drug, fentanyl, has now been shown to be effective in relieving labour pain.
In fact Julie and her colleagues at Flinders University and the University of Adelaide have found that fentanyl nose spray is just as effective as pethidine injections, which are commonly used, but fentanyl has fewer side effects for both mother and baby.
“Trait-based ecology” enables Macquarie University’s Mark Westoby to explain patterns of species occurrence and abundance and to understand the impacts of climate change and changing patterns of land use. He received the $55,000 NSW Scientist of the Year.
Nanocapsules for drugs delivery: Frank Caruso is making miniature capsules that could better deliver drugs for cancer, AIDS and cardiovascular diseases. He won one of the 2014 Victoria Prizes for Science & Innovation worth $50,000.