- Darek Fidyk, a 38-year-old Bulgarian with a completely severed spinal cord has walked again with the help of some cells from his nose.
- The nation’s Chief Medical Officer says it would be two weeks before an Australian emergency medical team could respond to an Ebola outbreak in the Asia-Pacific.
- Scientists from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research received $10.7 million in peer reviewed grant funding, out of a total funding pool of $538.8 million, in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 23rd October 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.
A man with a completely severed spinal cord has walked again with the help of some cells from his nose.
Darek Fidyka, a 38-year-old Bulgarian, had been paralysed from the chest down for four years after a knife attack.
Scientists from Britain and Poland took cells from his nose, transplanted them into his back and re-grew his spinal cord.
Now he can walk with a frame and even drive a car.
The doctors were delighted but said it was the first step in a long journey.
The breakthrough came after four decades of research by Professor Geoff Raisman, from the University College London, who spotted the potential of cells that repair damage to nasal nerves.
The circuitry that gives rise to the sense of smell is the only part of the nervous system that constantly regenerates.
Polish surgeons injected the olfactory cells into Mr Fidyka’s spinal cord above and below the injury and used a strip of nerves from his ankle to form a bridge across scar tissue.
The nasal cells appear to have prompted the spinal nerves to repair themselves.
Professor Raisman achieved this with rats in the late 1990s, but this is his greatest success.
The nation’s Chief Medical Officer says it would be two weeks before an Australian emergency medical team could respond to an Ebola outbreak in the Asia-Pacific.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott last week said Australia was preparing to respond to countries such as Papua New Guinea or Solomon Islands if there was an Ebola outbreak.
Greens Senator Richard Di Natale questioned Chief Medical Officer Chris Baggoley this morning during a Senate Estimates committee about the training medical teams have received in preparation to deploy.
“I just want to be clear about this – we have not deployed any of our AUSMAT [Australian Medical Assistance Team] professionals to be skilled to be able to combat an epidemic if it were to occur in the near future?” Senator Di Natale asked.
“That’s correct, Senator,” Professor Baggoley responded.
AUSMAT includes a range of health professionals such as doctors, nurses and paramedics.
The Government dispatched the team to the Philippines last year to help during Typhoon Haiyan.
Professor Baggoley told the committee it would be days before a team could be in a position to start treating people in another nation.
“It could take up to two weeks,” he said.
“What would be required is an understanding of the skill set that’s needed and on this we’d need volunteers and people going on this.
“They’re all volunteers but would specifically need to be volunteering to go for such an assignment.”
Mr Abbott said last week Australia was preparing to respond to a regional outbreak.
“Let’s face it, there are some countries in our region whose public health systems are not as strong as Australia’s,” Mr Abbott said.
Professor Baggoley told the committee Health Minister Peter Dutton had not requested AUSMAT personnel be ready to deploy to West Africa or other regions of the world.
Professor Baggoley also said he was in regular contact with his state and territory counterparts about efforts to prepare the nation’s hospitals to handle and contain the virus.
“We are having weekly meetings, mostly by teleconference and also some face-to-face meetings,” he said.
Professor Baggoley said Mr Dutton had attended one of those meetings.
He said Mr Dutton attended a teleconference about the Ebola crisis last Friday.
Scientists from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research received $10.7 million in peer reviewed grant funding, out of a total funding pool of $538.8 million, in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council grants, announced last Friday by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, accompanied by Federal Minister for Health Peter Dutton. Over the last few years, Garvan’s success rate, in terms of percentage of NHMRC Project Grant applications funded to those submitted, has been well above the national average, and this year was no different. This year, Garvan researchers were successful in 22% of applications (16 Project Grants), where the national average was 14.9%. Garvan wholeheartedly celebrates the success of those who have received NHMRC Project Grants this year.
We are particularly delighted for the New Investigator Project Grant recipients, Drs Kim Loh and Tyani Chan. These are awarded to early career researchers who have not previously received major grant funding. We also congratulate three recipients of NHMRC Early Career Fellowships: Drs Fabian Buske, Dr Kishore Kumar and Dr Romain Rouet.
NHMRC PROJECT GRANT RECIPIENTS
Prof Trevor Biden
Prof Kazunori Imaizumi (Hiroshima University, Japan)
Dr Tyani Chan
Prof Susan Clark
Dr Clare Stirzaker
Dr Elissa Deenick
Dr Cindy Ma
Prof Herbert Herzog
Dr Maya Kansara
Prof David Thomas
A/Prof Cecile King
Prof Jonathan Sprent
Dr Paul Lee
Dr Kim Loh
Dr Marina Pajic
Dr Paul Timpson
Prof Mike Rogers
A/Prof Jacqueline Center
Prof David Ryugo
Dr Carsten Schmitz-Peiffer
Prof Trevor Biden
Prof David Thomas
Dr Arcadi Cipponi
Dr Paul Timpson
Dr Jennifer Morton (Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, UK)
Prof Neil Watkins
Prof Stephen Baylin (Johns Hopkins University, USA)
Media enquiries should be directed to: Alison Heather Science Communications Manager M: + 61 434 071 326 P: +61 2 9295 8128 E: email@example.com
This has been the news on Health Professional Radio. For more information on today’s items head to hpr.fm/news and subscribe to our podcast on itunes.