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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Lions Club generosity to help arthritis patients

Rheumatoid arthritis patients will benefit from research enabled by state of the art equipment donated by the Lions Club to the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS).

Thanks to the generous donation of $78,000 from the Victorian Lions Club, Australian Lions Foundation and Lions Clubs International Foundation, the Arthritis Research Group in the Centre for Inflammatory Diseases at SCS has been able to purchase a Tecan M1000 Pro multifunctional plate reader.

The Victorian Lions Club has been raising funds for over 30 years for the Victorian Lions Rheumatism & Arthritis Medical Research Foundation,” said Lions Club representative Mr Eric Gittins. “In the last 10 years we have donated well over $300,000 to Monash University for various equipment and facilities.”

“We understand that this equipment will facilitate a faster translational response to testing carried out in the laboratory.”

Arthritis Research Group leader Dr James Harris said, “this high-end technology allows us to perform multiple types of assays using the one machine.”

“We can use it for both functional and clinical assays, such as ELISA, luminescence and fluorescence-based protocols.”

In lay terms, the new equipment will now allow researchers to perform multiple experiments without having to use different machines for each.

“Now we have this technology in one machine in our lab, we can increase both efficiency and functionality; it lets us design completely new types of studies,” added Dr Harris.

Some of the assays used in the laboratory measure levels of immune system proteinsin biological samples, including blood (serum) and cell culture samples.

“In the clinical context, we use assays to look for biomarkers or correlates of disease in arthritis and lupus,” said Head of rheumatology at Monash Health, Professor Eric Morand, also Head of SCS.

The new equipment allows scientists to more swiftly develop important insights into the biological mechanisms of arthritis and rheumatic diseases and push their discoveries towards the development of new drugs.

“Overall, it is an incredibly powerful tool that will not only make our day-to-day experiments quicker and more efficient, but will also allow us to expand our repertoire of assays and even design our own.”

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