[ASC-list] Free science talk, Melbourne, Thursday 18th September, 8:00pm

David Vaux D.Vaux at latrobe.edu.au
Tue Sep 9 22:03:23 UTC 2008

ANZAAS Vic Science Talk, Free, all welcome (booking not needed)

Free pizza and drinks after the talk

Casey Plaza Theatre, Bowen Street, RMIT University

THURSDAY 18th September 2008, at 8 pm

Professor Jim Goding  Monash University:

What does the immune system do?
The immune system is important.  If the immune system collapses due to
HIV/AIDS, you die of infection. Vaccination has eradicated smallpox and
nearly eradicated polio, and can now prevent cancer of the cervix.
How does the immune system work?
The immune system is very complex, but it is easier to understand by
following the history of the major discoveries.  How did they happen, and
what did they show?
Many key discoveries were made in the late 1700s, with no understanding of
mechanisms. Viewed from the 21st century, these experiments might be
regarded as highly unethical, but they initiated a revolution in medicine
that has saved countless millions of lives.
While ³modern² immunology began in the early 1900s, the quarter century
beginning in 1960 could be seen as a ³golden age² of immunology, when there
was an explosive increase in understanding the mechanisms of immunity, often
made by Australian scientists. How did they happen? What do transplanted
organs, immunity to viruses and Tasmanian Devils have in common?
Some surprises
The immune system is generally beneficial. But sometimes it causes disease,
notably allergies and ³auto-immune² diseases such as type I diabetes, where
the immune system destroys the cells that make insulin.
Many (possibly most) important immunological discoveries were made by
accident. Surprisingly, they often helped us to understand diseases which
were not considered to be immunological, including cancer and stomach
What does the future hold?
Thanks to Australian research, we now have a vaccine against cervical
cancer.  A vaccine against HIV still seems remote. We will briefly discuss
stem cells to create replacement organs and new ways to fight cancer.

***We are pleased to acknowledge the support by CSL and RMIT University for
the ANZAAS Melbourne science talks series***

Further Info:
Peter Kemeny:  Tel: 0409 028 165
               email: peter.kemenyATgmail.com


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