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Australia-China Joint Research Centre to boost the health sector

The Australian and Chinese government are funding for a new Joint Research Centre (JRC) that will develop a new generation point-of-care testing device.

According to a recent report, the next generation testing device will be able to detect minute quantities of disease biomarkers in a patient’s bloodstream, at point-of-care.

The device will integrate a miniaturised microscope, with microsensors on a chip, and smartphone readout to detect the trace amount of circulating nucleic acids in the blood stream.

An increase in the levels of these molecules can be an indicator of a range of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders and infections.

Australia-China Joint Research Centre

The Australia-China Joint Research Centre (JRC) for Point of Care Testing will be led by University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry Science (CIAC).

The Federal government funding of AU$936,000, from the Australia-China Science and Research Fund, will be matched by the Chinese Government to establish the Centre.

It aims to address the challenges being encountered in the health sectors of both countries, strengthening the ties with global partners and boosting research capacity.

The combined expertise of researchers on nanotechnology, diagnostics and rare earth-based optical materials will produce a compact, low cost and easy to use device that can be used in point-of-care settings such as surgeries of GPs and homes of patients.

The Director of the University’s Institute for Biomedical Materials and Devices (IBMD), Professor Dayong Jin, will co-lead the new JRC.

According to him, developing a non-invasive early-stage diagnostic tool is possible with the capability of identifying and monitoring these molecules.

Improving personalised healthcare practices

Personalised healthcare practices that lead to much improved survival rates are highly sought across the globe.

However, there is no single technique, to date, that works by itself to help tackle major global health challenges such as the detection of cancer in its very early stages.

Bringing together smart minds with complementary skills and resources will help make this a reality.

The funding of this new centre positions Australia and China at the forefront of innovation in diagnostic biotechnology.

Collaborating for new tech

In Australia, the University’s School of Biomedical Engineering and the Elemental Bio-imaging Facility will be connected into the new centre together with the University of Wollongong and several commercial partners.

In China, Professor Jun Lin from CIAC will co-lead the JRC with support from the South University of Science and Technology of China, the Fujan Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter, and the Suzhou Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology.

Using the latest technologies to develop affordable devices to better screen for illnesses can have a very real and positive impact upon the future of healthcare in Australia and around the world.

This will particularly affect the remote or developing areas where access to hospitals is limited.

Australia-China partnerships

As reported, an AU$ 4.7 million boost from the Coalition Government will strengthen innovation and science links with China to help tackle challenges facing key industry sectors, with a focus on developing medical and alternative energy security technology.

Aside from the UTS, the funding will help other world-class Australian research institutions build links with China, which is an important collaborative partner for Australia in science and research.

Also receiving a grant of over AU$ 900,000 each are:

  1. University of Melbourne and Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent Technology to develop low-cost flexible solar cells and new near-infra-red technologies.
  2. Flinders University and Nankai University to develop accessible medical sensing devices to enable early detection of emerging health concerns and empower healthy choices.
  3. University of Adelaide and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University to develop combined wind-and-wave power generation technologies to improve energy security.
  4. University of Sydney and Tianjin University to develop energy informatics and demand response technologies that improve energy sustainability, improve energy affordability, and secure energy infrastructures.
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