Discovery surprises international scientists

Monday, 05 March, 2001

Scientists at Monash University's Institute of Reproduction and Development have surprised their international colleagues with an exciting discovery that could impact on the treatment of hepatitis, multiple sclerosis (MS) and certain types of cancer.

The Monash team has discovered the activities of a soluble molecule that offers a clue to better understanding how interferon works in the body and possibly how it can be used for more effective therapy with fewer side-effects.

The discovery was made by Associate professor Paul Hertog, Dr Catherine Owczarek and postgraduate student Matthew Hardy at the institute's Centre for Functional Genomics and Human Disease.

Dr Hertog described the findings as "˜very significant', particularly because interferon therapy has been around for so long.

Interferon therapy can sometimes be a hit-and-miss in that some people benefit while others do not, suffering side-effects including drowsiness headache, vomiting and general flu-like symptoms.

Dr Hertzog said the Monash discovery explained why interferons can have such different impacts on the body. He added, however, that much research still lay ahead.

Item provided courtesy of Monash University

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