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image of researchers at launch of Charles Perkins Westmead
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Never too young to benefit from CPC Westmead’s research

24 May 2016
Westmead researchers target critical health problems of Sydney's West

The Charles Perkins Centre at Westmead places researchers who are tackling the most critical health problems facing Western Sydney close to the populations affected. 

Although only a young boy Liam is already taking part in two ground-breaking research studies that could change the treatment of diabetes.

At birth Liam’s* cord blood was stored so it could be used to treat him if he developed the type 1 diabetes his mother and 10-year-old sister monitor daily to keep under control. He is also participating in research aimed at discovering how viruses can trigger type 1 diabetes, part of a larger study on the environmental and genetic triggers for the disease.

Liam is a Western Sydney resident and the research he supports is one of the many activities at Charles Perkins Centre Westmead, being officially launched 24 May.

The Charles Perkins Centre (CPC) is dedicated to easing the global burden of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Rates of all these diseases in Western Sydney are among the highest in NSW.

“Our centre is dedicated to battling Australia’s leading health challenges through research and teaching.  So it makes perfect sense for us to have a Westmead Precinct with Western Sydney as a major focus of activity given more than half of Western Sydney's population is overweight or obese, with high rates of stress, diabetes and smoking,”  said Professor Louise Baur, the University’s Professor of Child and Adolescent Health.

“There are already many clinicians and researchers across the Westmead Precinct and in western Sydney addressing these problems. The formal launch of Charles Perkins Centre Westmead provides the opportunity to consolidate and build on such expertise.”

Professor Clara Chow and Professor Maria Craig are academic co-directors of CPC Westmead.

“The Westmead will have a major focus on cardiometabolic research and its translation into clinical practice,” said Professor Chow, a cardiologist and an international expert in cardiovascular disease prevention. 

“This launch underlines the breadth of the expertise located at Westmead and the critical importance of working with the local community, health services, and politicians to make meaningful changes to address these conditions.”
Professor Maria Craig

CPC Westmead research being showcased at the launch includes adolescent obesity, multi-drug therapy for hypertension, oral disease’s impact on health, vitamin D’s relationship with diabetes and vascular disease, and gene therapy for cardiac arrhythmia.

Other areas of research expertise include congenital heart disease and how cardiac procedures can be improved.

 Maria Craig is a professor of paediatric endocrinology and the leader of the two research programs on diabetes involving Liam.

 “Discovering the risk factors for children whose relations have type 1 diabetes is fundamental to combating the scourge of this disease, which has exponentially increased among young people.”

“This launch underlines the breadth of the expertise located at Westmead and the critical importance of working with the local community, health services, and politicians to make meaningful changes to address these conditions.”

The Charles Perkins Centre Westmead brings together international leaders across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines. Instead of looking for a silver bullet solution to the issues it examines, the centre looks for solutions at the junctions between disciplines. Doctors and health scientists work with philosophers, marketers, agriculturalists, architects and economists. 

The event was hosted by The Westmead Institute. 

Verity Leatherdale

Manager, Faculty Media and PR
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