The Health News – 23 October 2014

Overview

  • 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.


Stories Discussed
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 23rd October 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-22/man-with-completely-severed-spinal-cord-walks-again/5831794

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.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-22/deployment-to-asia-pacific-ebola-hotspot-could-take-two-weeks/5832868

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.

http://www.garvan.org.au/news-events/news/garvan-institute-scientists-receive-10-7-million-in-nhmrc-funding

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

Recipient (CIA)

Recipient (CIB)

Award

Prof Trevor Biden

Prof Kazunori Imaizumi (Hiroshima University, Japan)

$603,813

Dr Tyani Chan

$512,543

Prof Susan Clark

Dr Clare Stirzaker

$616,038

Dr Elissa Deenick

Dr Cindy Ma

$457,837

Prof Herbert Herzog

$694,152

Dr Maya Kansara

Prof David Thomas

$627,462

A/Prof Cecile King

Prof Jonathan Sprent

$643,134

Dr Paul Lee

$379,632

Dr Kim Loh

$460,105

Dr Marina Pajic

Dr Paul Timpson

$614,495

Prof Mike Rogers

A/Prof Jacqueline Center

$593,501

Prof David Ryugo

$881,355

Dr Carsten Schmitz-Peiffer

Prof Trevor Biden

$872,512

Prof David Thomas

Dr Arcadi Cipponi

$668,813

Dr Paul Timpson

Dr Jennifer Morton (Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, UK)

$668,813

Prof Neil Watkins

Prof Stephen Baylin (Johns Hopkins University, USA)

$516,772

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Alison Heather

Science Communications Manager 
M: + 61 434 071 326

P: +61 2 9295 8128

E: [email protected]

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