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Tissue Slicer to Cut Health Risks

Curtin is now home to Australia’s first Krumdieck Precision-Cut Tissue Slicer, a device which will be used in research projects to reduce health risks and healthcare costs for patients.

Precision-cut tissue slicing is a technique that allows one piece of tissue to be turned into potentially hundreds of ‘ex vivo mini organ systems’, or slices of tissue, which can then be individually tested.

Dr Nina Tirnitz-Parker, Curtin’s School of Biomedical Sciences, and Professor John Olynyk, Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, are planning to use the Krumdieck Precision-Cut Tissue Slicer in research to manipulate liver stem cells to regenerate the liver, instead of the cells potentially contributing to disease progression.

Once approval to use the equipment for human material is achieved, the equipment can use donor livers in a way that will reduce the amount of tissue needed for clinical tests.

The Krumdieck Precision-Cut Tissue Slicer allows researchers to test a large variety of drugs using a single piece of tissue which will potentially lead to a patient-based analysis of drugs before application, paving the way for individualised treatment approaches.

“Usually only isolated cells are kept alive outside the body but this equipment makes it possible to culture a whole organ slice and have cells in their natural or niche situation,” Dr Nina Tirnitz-Parker said.

“The technique will eventually contribute to novel personalised medicine approaches, help to eliminate trial-and-error inefficiencies, and thereby reduce the health risk for the patient and the associated health care costs.”

 

Mr Mark Balfour, Chairman, Fremantle Hospital Medical Research Foundation
Mr Mark Balfour, Chairman, Fremantle Hospital Medical Research Foundation, Dr Nina Tirnitz-Parker, School of Biomedical Sciences and Professor John Olynyk, Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute. (Photo supplied by Tanya Voltchanskaya, Photographer and Filmmaker.)

The equipment was purchased with an equipment grant from the Fremantle Hospital Medical Research Foundation and a further contribution from the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute.

Mr Mark Balfour, Chair of the Fremantle Hospital Medical Research Foundation, said the investment was just one part of the Foundation’s involvement with Curtin University.

“The joint purchase of equipment is one of several collaborative initiatives between the Foundation and Curtin; other collaborations include a PhD scholarship and salary contributions.”

The Krumdieck Precision-Cut Tissue Slicer will be housed in the histology laboratory of the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute and is available to biomedical researchers in Western Australia and elsewhere.