- Australia is in the grip of an ice epidemic and hundreds of clandestine drug labs are springing up around the country each year, in suburban homes, motels and even in car boots and trucks.
- The American Association of Immunologists (AAI) has selected Professor Jonathan Sprent FAA FRS, from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research, to be the 2015 recipient of the AAI Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Fears have been raised that inmates at Hobart’s Risdon Prison will react violently when a smoking ban comes into force later this week.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 27th January 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
Australia is in the grip of an ice epidemic and hundreds of clandestine drug labs are springing up around the country each year, in suburban homes, motels and even in car boots and trucks.
Just last year police across the nation raided nearly 750 meth labs and they predict this figure will increase dramatically in 2015.
Detective Inspector Michael Cook, head of the chemical operations team for the NSW Police Drug Squad, said labs were often found in rural areas, but they had also been discovered in motel rooms, shipping containers, boots of cars and on the back of trucks.
While the devastating effects of ice on users are well known, police are also concerned about the toxic legacy of meth labs on residents and the environment.
“One of my people was severely injured as a result of the work undertaken in a lab where their tear ducts in their eyes were burnt,” Inspector Cook said.
Inspector Cook said that for every kilogram of ice produced, there was 10 kilograms of toxic waste.
The American Association of Immunologists (AAI) has selected Professor Jonathan Sprent FAA FRS, from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research, to be the 2015 recipient of the AAI Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Award recognises “a career of exemplary contributions to the field, leadership in the community, and dedicated membership and service to the AAI”. It will be presented in May at AAI’s annual conference, to be held in New Orleans. A Fellow of the Royal Society and the Australian Academy of Science, Professor Sprent is one of the most eminent immunologists of his generation, having made many seminal contributions to the fields of immunological memory and tolerance, transplantation immunity and cancer immunotherapy. He has led the Cellular Immunity lab at Garvan since 2006, where he works on various aspects of T cell biology.
Sprent was born in England and grew up in Brisbane. He graduated in medicine from The University of Queensland, and then went on to do a PhD in the lab of preeminent immunologist Professor Jacques Miller at Melbourne’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.
With Miller, Sprent explored the properties of the newly discovered population of thymus-derived lymphocytes, or T cells. He devised ingenious ways (in mice) of showing how T cells were activated and how they achieved tolerance to ‘self’. His 1971 work as a PhD student, originally published in Cellular Immunology, was recently selected as a ‘Pillars Article’ in the Journal of Immunology. The British Society for Immunology (of which Sprent is an Honorary Member) notes that “the advances made by Jon and others at this early period of Immunology are now almost unimaginable”.
“More than ten years before the T-cell receptor had been discovered, and more than fifteen years before MHC molecules had been characterised, these studies elucidated many of the rules which underpin our current understanding of how T cells work. It is testimony to the vision of workers like Jon that the phenomena they defined, and the rules of T-cell recognition they established, have survived almost unchallenged.
He is currently working on three promising immunotherapies for cancer and autoimmune disease.
Fears have been raised that inmates at Hobart’s Risdon Prison will react violently when a smoking ban comes into force later this week.
The Tasmanian Government is banning smoking to improve the health of inmates and prison guards, but former correctional officer Tony Burley said there was some nervousness surrounding the introduction of the new rules on Friday.
“Some officers are concerned that the prison will erupt,” he said.
Attacks on prison guards in Queensland doubled in the months after a smoking ban was introduced in the state last year.
Corrections Minister Vanessa Goodwin said her department had the situation under control.
But Mr Burley said the move put both guards and prisoners on edge.
“Prisoners have carried out violent attacks for less reasons than not being able to get a cigarette,” he said.
“I can understand why you’d be concerned about that. I’m concerned about that myself.
“It will result in prisoner on prisoner violence because tobacco products will become a contraband item”
But Tom Lynch from the CPSU, a union that represents prison staff, said Tasmania had learned from Queensland’s mistakes.
“The lack of adequate lead-in time, the measures that were put in place to take up programs to cease smoking,” he said.
Up to 90 per cent of Tasmania’s prisoners smoke and health advocates have applauded the move.
Jann Smith from Alcohol Tobacco and Drugs Council praised the effort to create a healthier environment.
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