Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common genetically-inherited life-shortening chronic illness affecting young Australians today. A baby is born with cystic fibrosis every four days (Source – Better Health Channel). It primarily affects the respiratory system with recurrent infections and the risk for lung damage long term, among other symptoms.
Hunter researchers have a world class reputation in the study of viruses both in respiratory conditions and also for the treatment of other diseases such as cancer.
Asthma is one of the most common chronic disorders that affect pregnant women with approximately 12% of all pregnant women affected (Source - Health Direct Australia).
Maternal asthma is associated with an increased risk of low birthweight, the child being small for their gestational age and pre-term (premature) delivery of the baby and hence, adequate control of asthma during pregnancy is critical.
The gastrointestinal tract is the largest organ in the body being equivalent to a basketball court in surface area. Australia has one of the highest rates of gastrointestinal disorders including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in the world with the cause remaining largely unknown. (Source - HMRI News & Articles)
Researchers in the HMRI VIVA group research the molecular mechanisms of disease in the gastrointestinal tract with a particular focus on how the normal mucous in the gut functions under normal circumstances, when infection is present and when there is a reduced oxygen supply. They are also interested in further understanding how tissues adapt to inflammation and why some people heal and others do not.
Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are the two major chronic respiratory diseases in Australia, with the incidence of asthma among the highest in the world, and COPD a major cause of death.
These disorders are a significant health and economic burden to the community. Researchers in the HMRI VIVA program are focused on understanding the cellular and molecular processes that are associated with the development and progression of respiratory diseases, such as asthma and COPD.
Chronic diseases of the airways including asthma are extremely common in Australia. In fact, the prevalence of asthma in Australia is among the highest in the world (Source – Global Asthma Report)
The pancreas is a gland of the digestive system. The causes of pancreatic cancer are unknown, but smokers are at greater risk. Likewise, the causes of colorectal cancer (including bowel cancer) are unknown but smoking and increasing age are risk factors.
Brain cancer kills more children and adults aged under 40 than any other cancer in Australia. (Source – Cure Brain Cancer Foundation)
In 2014, the Mark Hughes Foundation (MHF) was formed to raise much needed funds to promote brain cancer research, heighten awareness & support brain cancer patients and families.
Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow involving abnormal proliferation of blood cells.
It is projected that there are over 3,500 new cases of leukaemia diagnosed in Australia every year. (Source – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare)
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) is one of the most deadly and most common types of leukaemia affecting children aged 0 to 14 years and may also occur in adults.
Prostate cancer accounts for 13% of all cancer deaths in Australian men. With 1 in 5 men being diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 85, it is a significant cause of disease burden in our older population. (Source – Cancer Council Australia)
The prostate is a gland of the male reproductive system. Cancer of the prostate currently has no known definitive cause however the incidence does increase with age.