10 top Australian scientists predict major medical advances

Within a decade Australians will be able to find out how good their genes are at fighting disease, which environmental risks they are susceptible to and steps they should take to prevent the onset of ill-health. And by the turn of the century it will be commonplace to have a bad combination of genes repaired to avoid disease.

'Then, NowImagine', a new report compiled by Research Australia in consultation with 10 of the country's leading health and medical researchers including two Nobel Prize winners and four Australians of the Year, predicts individual gene profiling from blood samples will revolutionise healthcare within ten years.

2006 Australian of the Year, Professor Ian Frazer, who discovered the technology that led to the newly released cervical cancer vaccine, said the upshot will be the ability to develop personalised healthcare plans a roadmap for health from the day of birth.

"Doctors will be able to predict what health problems we might get so we can take appropriate precautions. They will also be able to assess what treatments will work best on an individual basis to achieve optimum health results. Long-term it will be possible to avoid certain diseases altogether through gene therapy," he said.

Sponsored by MBF, the report has been released by Research Australia to commemorate "Thank You" Day (14 November 2006), Australians' annual opportunity to send personal messages of appreciation to medical researchers whose work is special to them via www.thankyouday.org or 0428THANKS. "Thank You" Day is held each year with the support of the Macquarie Bank Foundation.

Five other key forecasts are:

  • Growing new body parts

Further advances in understanding how 'blank' or 'uncoded' cells in their very early stages of development switch on to become specific types of cells, like liver, skin and nerve cells, mean cures for diseases like Parkinson's, Di

Contact: Jackie Crossman
Research Australia

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