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Australian university researches Ross River Fever


SYNTHETIC VACCINE TECHNOLOGY to combat Ross River Fever and new anti-cancer molecules are the focus of new research projects by students from Charles Sturt University's (CSU) clinical science program.

The projects will assist in the development of synthetic vaccine research and contribute to drug discovery work, which could form the basis of a new approach to the chemotherapy of several cancer types.

Microbiology lecturer in the school of biomedical sciences at Orange, Dr Peter Anderson said Ross River virus was found in Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands and caused fever, severe joint pain and swelling that could disable a person for up to eight weeks.

“Occasionally some individuals can take up to 40 weeks for full recovery,” he said. “We are mainly interested in Ross River virus for its potential as a model system to develop a different kind of vaccine technology; it is a great model system because of its broad host range.”

The students will produce a recombinant version of the virus and investigate the use of synthetic peptides in the production of a fully-synthetic vaccine.

Senior lecturer in medicinal chemistry Dr Christopher Parkinson said the second group of students would assist in CSU’s investigations relating to selective induction of oxidative stress in cancer cells.

“The students will create new molecules related to existing anti-malarial and anti-leprosy agents in addition to active principals from traditional remedies,” he said.

“Early studies have demonstrated that these agents, and combinations thereof, have the potential to kill cancerous cells without the degree of collateral damage to healthy tissue caused by many current anti-cancer chemotherapeutics.

“The potential chemotherapeutics prepared by the students will then be tested against several cancers under laboratory conditions.”

The projects are a new initiative of the university’s Bachelor of Clinical Science course.


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