CSU students research vaccines and chemotherapies

1 JANUARY 2003

Synthetic vaccine technology to combat Ross River Fever and new anti-cancer molecules are the focus of new research projects by students from CSU's clinical science program.

CSU clinical science students undertake a research project.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, being conducted through the School of Biomedical Sciences at CSU in Orange, will assist in the ongoing 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 CSU in 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 in the School of Biomedical Sciences at CSU in Orange 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.
 
Problem Based Learning lecturer Dr Cesidio Parissi said the clinical science program offered a unique entry point to a variety of careers and further study in medicine and health.
 
“In my opinion the Charles Sturt University Bachelor of Clinical Science prepares students for post-graduate study or careers in health research better than any other course available,” he said.
 
“It offers grounding in all the basic sciences such as anatomy, physiology and chemistry, and also includes four humanities subjects in psychology, sociology, ethics and law, and indigenous studies.
 
“The addition of the practical research component in the final year of the degree now gives students a chance to really get to know the basics of health research.”
 
The Bachelor of Clinical Science is a three year program offered through the School of Biomedical Sciences at CSU in Orange. There are intakes into the program in February and July. Read more here.

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