Around the Precinct – 18 March 2021

In this issue, we look at the impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of care to MS patients and the importance of telehealth facilities. We hear about new research that may help starve cancer cells to death; seek participants for a new PrEP study; welcome Australia’s support for PNG, and celebrate an Honours student achievement. Plus, there’s a great podcast to listen to. Here are just some of this week’s highlights…


How PrEPared are you? Participants sought for new HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis trial.

If you are a gay, bisexual or other man who has sex with men (GBMSM) and you’ve been in Australia less than five years, you are invited to participate in a study to investigate the knowledge about, and attitudes towards, HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxix, or PrEP, by overseas-born GBMSM in Australia. Read more or find out how to get involved

MS team improves patient care under pandemic conditions

During 2020, COVID-19 lockdowns, the necessary ongoing treatment required by MS patients to prevent relapses or flares of this chronic condition became a challenge. The Monash – Alfred Health Multiple Sclerosis Neuroimmunology (MSNI) Clinic rose to the challenge, however, providing safe – and popular – method of service continuity to patients. Read more…

Starving cancer cells to death

One of the major issues with patients fighting leukaemia or cancer in general is relapse, although chemotherapy helps to get rid of most cancer cells. But these cells come back. Dr Cedric Tremblay in the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases at Monash University is first author on a recently published Nature Communications study on a novel approach to weakening, then killing, cancer cells. Read more…

Rory Doolan awarded Robyn O’Hehir Honours Dux Medal

Mr Rory Doolan, who undertook Honours in Prof Nicola Harris’ lab in the Central Clinical School’s Department of Immunology & Pathology, was recently awarded the Robyn O’Hehir Honours Dux Medal for being the top student for 2020 from the 42 undertaking honours at CCS. Read more…


For meaningful change, telehealth services need to be accessible to all

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way most Australians engage with healthcare, whether it be at the GP, community health centres, or in hospitals. Distance-based care such as telehealth is now likely to become a consistent feature of community-based care models well into the future. For some, however, telehealth is inaccesible and cannot substitute in-person care. Read more…



Aftershock: Wendy Brown, Surgeon

The Aftershock team this week featured Prof Wendy Brown, Director of Surgery at The Alfred, about her operating theatre regime and the connection she makes with her patients. With characteristic empathy, she says, “You’ve got to be always vigilant and always think, this is the most important operation I’m ever going to do, because, for this person, it is the most important operation you’re going to do.” Listen to the Aftershock podcast here.



Burnet welcomes COVID support to PNG

Burnet Institute has welcomed the Australian Government’s urgent COVID-19 support package for Papua New Guinea, which will see 8,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, plus PPE, medical equipment & personnel deployed to our near neighbour early next week, and a million doses of Australian-contracted doses distributed to PNG by the end of the year. Read more…