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By University of Wollongong and the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute

Researchers at the University of Wollongong and the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute have discovered a new group of molecules showing promising results against multidrug-resistant cancers.

Natural products or direct derivatives from them have provided nearly half of all clinically useful cancer chemotherapeutics, and the search for new potent and selective agents continues. Multidrug resistance, whereby cancers develop resistance to chemotherapy drugs and are no longer responsive to treatment, is a major limitation to the current management of the disease.

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Whose nose knows?

By Ian Rae

Sniffing out substances

When I was an undergraduate at the University of Melbourne in the late 1950s, and for some years afterwards, there was a strong ‘chemical’ smell in the foyer of the Chemistry building. Nobody seemed to worry about it – chemistry departments just smelled like that. Years later, when I was at Monash, the staff working in the chemistry store complained about the smell, on the grounds of amenity, of course, but also on health grounds. Were they being slowly poisoned as they went about our business?

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Immune breakthrough: unscratching poison ivy’s rash

By Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging

Molecular mechanism discovered

We all know that a brush with poison ivy leaves us with an itchy painful rash. Now, Monash and Harvard researchers have discovered the molecular cause of this irritation. The finding brings us a step closer to designing agents to block this mechanism and sheds light on other serious skin conditions, such as psoriasis.

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Also in this issue...

Scaevola spinescens: a short history of medicinal use and potential

The Australian native plant Scaevola spinescens has an interesting back story of bush medicine and chemical research.

Science in the Third Age

Martin Gellender discusses his approach to teaching science to mature-age students.

US FDA issues final rule on safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps

The US Food and Drug Administration has issued a final rule establishing that over-the-counter consumer antiseptic wash products containing certain active ingredients can no longer be marketed.

Gender equity in the RACI and beyond

Gender equity in science research has been making headlines over the past year, with high-profile cases of harassment at US universities as well as extensive reporting on the difficulties faced by women in being hired, publishing, obtaining grants and being promoted. The evidence indicates that these difficulties often result from the cumulative effects of unconscious bias, which is inherently difficult to identify and combat.

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By Brittany Howard

A new Pfizer restriction means that lethal injection drugs are no longer available on the US open market.

In April of this year, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced that it will be imposing sweeping restrictions concerning its drugs that are used in carrying out the death penalty, which will effectively bring an end to the open market for execution drugs in the US. As it stands, all FDA-approved manufacturers of potential execution drugs, a diverse suite of 25 global companies, have blocked the sale of their products for use in executions.

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What now for Australian research in a post-Brexit world?

By Andrew Holmes and Cheryl Prager

Brain Exit foreshadowed

Nobody can yet predict exactly what the ramifications will be now the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union, but UK science commentators are already foreshadowing Brexit Mark 2 – a Brain Exit of researchers.

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Also in this issue...

Weighty issues

Is a switch to artificial sweeteners a smart alternative to sugar?

From researcher to attorney

Mike Zammit reflects on the different perspectives of IP for researchers, IP coordinators and patent attorneys.

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