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Home > Press > Top Austrian Professor puts cancer under the microscope

Abstract:
World Class Technology and Talent Battle Cancer at the Centenary Institute

Top Austrian Professor puts cancer under the microscope

Australia | Posted on November 27th, 2007

The Centenary Institute, one of Australia's leading medical research institutes, unveiled a powerful microscope unlike any other in Australia today.

Representing the cutting edge in medical technology and microscopy, the unique imaging features of the multiphoton microscope will enable scientists at the Centenary Institute unprecedented access to the secret workings of living tissues at the cellular and molecular level.

The Centenary Institute is equally excited about the arrival of Austrian Professor Wolfgang Weninger, one of only a handful of people in the world who specialises in using the multiphoton microscope in the immunology field to view immune responses in real-time in living tissue.

At the Centenary, Professor Weninger will lead a team of researchers to study the dynamics of the immune system's response to cancer and infectious diseases.

Professor Weninger said, "Cancer is still a leading cause of death in Australia. There is a need to develop improved anti-cancer therapies based on the use of the body's own resources - namely our immune system. This type of microscope is an outstanding tool to study how our bodies fight cancer both in early and advanced stages. If we can learn more about how our immune system attacks cancer cells directly in the context of intact tissues, we hope to develop improved immuno-therapies."

Using the multiphoton microscope, Professor Weninger's team pioneered ground-breaking imaging models to record how the body's defences fight tumours and infectious diseases. He has already astounded the medical community in Australia and the world by showing real-time videos of white blood cells invading and destroying cancer cells in living tissue.

Centenary's Executive Director, Professor Mathew Vadas said, "The arrival of Professor Weninger and the multiphoton microscope marks a new era in medical research for the Centenary Institute. With one of his recently published papers among the ten all-time highest-ranked papers in biomedicine, we are honoured to have such an eminent researcher as Professor Weninger join the Centenary Institute.

I am confident that the results of his team's research will vastly improve our understanding of how the body's immune system fights cancer and infectious diseases. The multiphoton microscope will also support the research of other Centenary scientists particularly in auto-immune and liver diseases."

The multiphoton microscope at the Centenary Institute has two unique features, its imaging mode and laser. The unique imaging mode uses multiple laser beams and means fast moving objects and dynamic processes in living tissue can be viewed, for example, cells in the blood stream. The laser has been enhanced with a unit called an OPO that produces longer wavelengths of light than those used in other microscopes enabling researchers to potentially look deeper into living tissue than ever before.

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About Centenary Institute
The Centenary Institute, located on the grounds of Royal PrinceAlfredHospital in Sydney, is a centre of excellence in medical research with a portfolio of projects in cancer, immunology and molecular medicine. The Centenary Institute's strategy is to undertake cutting edge research into the biology of normal and diseased cells, with the goal of improving our understanding of what causes disease and to translate these discoveries into clinical practice through the development of new vaccines, better diagnostic tests and innovative forms of treatment.

Professor Wolfgang Weninger is Head of the Centenary’s Immune Imaging Group. He is also Chair of the Department of Dermatology, University of Sydney. Between 2003 and June 2007 Professor Weninger was a Faculty member at the prestigious Wistar Institute and the Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA. The Wistar Institute is a nonprofit biomedical research institute in the United States and holds the prestigious Cancer Centre designation from the National Cancer Institute. Before Wistar, he spent over four years in Professor Ulrich von Andrian’s laboratory at HarvardMedicalSchool, Boston, USA. Professor von Andrian is one of the pioneers in in vivo imaging of immune responses.

In the last eight years since completing his clinical training at the Department of Dermatology, University of Vienna Medical School, Vienna, Austria (1992-1999), Professor Weninger has made numerous important contributions to the understanding of tissue-specific migration pathways of immune cells, in particular to and within sites of inflammation and tumours. He has published 49 original articles in leading biomedical journals including Science, Nature, Nature Immunology, Immunity and the Journal of Experimental Medicine as well as 8 review articles in top journals, such as Immunological Review and Seminars in Immunology. Many of his papers have had large impact in the field, with several having already more than 200 citations times by other scientists. He is listed in the Faculty of 1,000 Biology for a paper which is among the ten all-time highest-ranked papers in biomedicine. The Faculty of 1,000 Biology is an online research service that comprehensively and systematically highlights and reviews the most interesting papers published in the biological sciences, based on the recommendations of a faculty of well over 2,300 selected leading researchers ("Faculty Members").

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Jane Moloney
Communications Officer
Centenary Institute
tel. 02 9565 6118

Copyright © Centenary Institute

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