Research highlights

Mechanisms of cell death

When cells become stressed or damaged they commit suicide by a finely controlled process known as apoptosis. The key players that determine cellular fate have been known for decades, but the mechanisms by which cells make their life or death decision are still being explored.

Dr Doug Fairlie, Dr Erinna Lee and Professor Brian Smith, together with collaborators at WEHI, provide the first definitive physiological evidence about this process. Their findings, published in Genes and Development, also provide new insights into the basis of cancer drug sensitivity. Read more.

First comprehensive review of chemotherapy drug

Mitoxantrone is a chemotherapy drug used to treat leukemia, lymphoma, and advanced prostate cancer.

At the invite of Medicinal Research Reviews, Dr Suzanne Cutts, together with collaborators from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and St Judes Children’s Research Hospital, have published the first comprehensive review of mitoxantrone in over twenty years. They explain mitoxantrone’s clinical applications and associated toxicities, and provide a detailed analysis of the mechanisms of action of the drug at a cellular and molecular level. Read more.

Exosomes and cancer biology

Communication between cells occurs when molecules released from one cell are then sensed by another cell. These molecules are sometimes contained in cell particles called exosomes.

Analysing the contents and function of exosomes can help scientists understand their roles in disease progression. They can also be used as a natural drug delivery tool. Dr David Greening’s lab are working to understand the role of exosomes in cell communication, cancer biology, development and reproduction biology. Read more.

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