News in brief: Lung cancer advisory role for Associate Professor Gavin Wright; Poor sleep health a major problem for Indigenous Australians; Mechanism revealed for immune training against LRTI

Thursday, 17 Feb 2022

Lung cancer advisory role for Associate Professor Gavin Wright

Thoracic surgeon Associate Professor Gavin Wright has been named as the new Chair of Cancer Australia’s Lung Cancer Advisory Group.

Associate Professor Gavin Wright will be leading the group that provides clinical input and advice in relation to the early design of a potential national lung cancer screening program for people at high risk of lung cancer in Australia. It also provides advice and promotes increasing awareness on the uptake of Cancer Australia’s lung cancer resources.

Professor Wright has appointments at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, Royal Melbourne Hospital and pioneered the use of minimally invasive and robotic thoracic surgery at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. He said he is an advocate for  multidisciplinary and multi-centre collaborations and the role would complement his work work as the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) Alliance lead for lung cancer, particularly in the areas of lung cancer screening and addressing equity issues in lung cancer.

Poor sleep health a major problem for Indigenous Australians

The first comprehensive study of the state of sleep health in Indigenous Australians has found high burden of problems and rates higher than for non-Indigenous Australians.

The review of nine studies involving 2640 participants found that 15–34% of Indigenous Australians experience less than the recommended seven hours per night and 22% reported fragmented, irregular, and unrefreshing sleep. There was also a high prevalence of OSA in clinical populations of between 39-46%.

The evidence of sleep problems such as initiating and maintaining sleep, disrupted/restless sleep or excessive sleepiness, and sleep/wake rhythm disruptions represented a gap between the health of First Nations Australians compared to their non-Aboriginal peers, according to the authors of the review from Central Queensland University and the University of Queensland

This review provides important information to support the need for investment into better access to care and sleep health evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and healthcare delivery for sleep health in First Nations Australians,” they wrote in Lancet Regional Health.

Mechanism revealed for immune training against LRTI

An immune training-based therapy that protects infants against severe lower respiratory tract infections appears to work by triggering increased interferon responses to bacterial infections, WA researchers say.

Work by immunologists at the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth shows that polybacterial extract from a mixture of respiratory pathogens, known as OM85, modulates gene networks triggered during innate immune responses to bacterial pathogens that typically accompany viral pathogens in severe lower respiratory tract infections.

Analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from infants who participated in a trial of OM85 during the winter season showed that treatment led to  upregulation of IRF7-dependent interferon signalling and increased coordination with innate pathogen-sensing functions, accompanied by attenuation of potentially pathogenic inflammation.

Infants treated with OM85 showed a reduced capacity for lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammatory cytokine (IL-6 and TNF) production, their research showed.

“These changes are consistent with treatment-induced enhancement of bacterial pathogen detection/clearance capabilities concomitant with enhanced capacity to regulate ensuing inflammatory response intensity and duration,” the researcher report in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.



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