One in every 190 Australians of northern European descent suffers with the inherited iron-overload disorder Hereditary Haemochromatosis. Early detection prevents the development of iron-related organ injury effecting the liver, pancreas, musculoskeletal and endocrine systems. Chronic liver disease is a rapidly increasing cause of morbidity and death globally. A major contributor to the increasing burden of liver disease is hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which usually occurs as a complication of cirrhosis. The most common cause of cirrhosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, is the liver complication of the disturbed metabolic state which is seen in obesity and diabetes mellitus. The research work undertaken by Professor Olynyk aims to improve the ability of:
- scientists to understand the injury mechanisms leading to these disorders,
- clinicians to detect, diagnose and treat individuals with these conditions to improve health outcomes, and;
- consumers to better understand their conditions.
Professor Olynyk partners with Universities (Edith Cowan University, Curtin University, The University of Western Australia, Murdoch University), the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, industry (Resonance Health), The WA Department of Health and consumers. In a world first, research knowledge related to Hereditary Haemochromatosis was formulated into an online referral system which has now become the national standard of care for referral and management of the disease in Australia. It has substantially improved access, timeframes and referral practices to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, with significant productivity gains. Going forward, Professor Olynyk is now examining the role of disturbed iron metabolism in cancer, development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and the processes which occur in the liver as a result of injury which lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.
For more information, contact Professor John Olynyk
- Iron metabolism in cancer
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Pathogenesis of liver fibrosis and liver cancer
Professor John Olynyk
- Dr Nina Tirnitz-Parker
- Dr Rodrigo Carlessi