MONASH UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCES RESEARCH COLLABORATION WITH JANSSEN TO TACKLE COELIAC DISEASE
June 17 2020
Monash University has signed a multi-year research collaboration with Janssen Biotech Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to advance the understanding of the immune mechanisms underpinning Coeliac Disease and inform the development of new methods of diagnosis and treatment. The research will be led by ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging Chief Investigator Professor Jamie Rossjohn from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. The collaboration was facilitated by Monash Innovation, part of the Enterprise portfolio at Monash University, and by Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC.
Coeliac Disease is a serious health condition affecting approximately 1 per cent of the world’s population. It occurs when dietary gluten (a food protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats) triggers a damaging immune response that attacks the body. Coeliac disease is associated with a range of health problems and often causes digestive symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. It can also cause anaemia, low iron levels and excessive tiredness and is associated with osteoporosis, other autoimmune diseases, infection and some types of cancer.
Providing a definitive diagnosis to Coeliac Disease currently entails invasive biopsy and improved diagnostics and better treatments are urgently needed. Presently, the only approved treatment is a gluten-free diet; there is no known cure. With the disease affecting on average approximately 1 in 70 Australians with around 80 per cent of this number undiagnosed, the vast majority of Australians who have coeliac disease are unaware they have it.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise), Professor Ken Sloan, said the research agreement with Janssen is another example of Monash actively engaging with industry to explore new avenues: “Monash University remains committed to moving research forward for the betterment of human health, creating new avenues and opportunities that may lead to tangible benefits for the broader community”, Professor Sloan said.
Director of the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Professor John Carroll, said the collaboration brings together leading researchers and industry partners to tackle this major health issue that affects so many individuals around the world.
“This collaboration is another example of how Monash BDI’s strong clinical relationships and industry engagement aim to accelerate the development of diagnostic and preventative treatments,” Professor Carroll said.
Professor Rossjohn stated: “The team at Monash, including Dr. Hugh Reid, Prof. Nicole La Gruta and Prof. Tony Purcell, look forward to working alongside Janssen colleagues to develop innovative immunotherapeutics to prevent and treat Coeliac Disease.”
About the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging
The $39 million ARC-funded Imaging CoE develops and uses innovative imaging technologies to visualise the molecular interactions that underpin the immune system. Featuring an internationally renowned team of lead scientists across five major Australian Universities and academic and commercial partners globally, the Centre uses a truly multi-scale and programmatic approach to imaging to deliver maximum impact. The Imaging CoE is headquartered at Monash University with four collaborating organisations – La Trobe University, the University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales and the University of Queensland.
About the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute
Committed to making the discoveries that will relieve the future burden of disease, the newly established Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University brings together more than 120 internationally-renowned research teams. Our researchers are supported by world-class technology and infrastructure, and partner with industry, clinicians and researchers internationally to enhance lives through discovery.
This article was first published by Monash University