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<p class=MsoNormal><font size=4 face=Arial><span style='font-size:13.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=4 face=Arial><span style='font-size:13.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&nbsp;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=4 face=Arial><span style='font-size:13.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>Emabargoed until 11am, </span></font><font
 size=4 face=Arial><span style='font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Arial'>Sunday 4
 September 2005</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal align=center style='text-align:center'><b><font size=4
face=Arial><span style='font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Arial;font-weight:bold'>&nbsp;</span></font></b></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><b><font size=4 face=Arial><span style='font-size:13.0pt;
font-family:Arial;font-weight:bold'>New technology to keep up with complex
disease</span></font></b></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><b><font size=4 face=Arial><span style='font-size:13.0pt;
font-family:Arial;font-weight:bold'>&nbsp;</span></font></b></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=1 face=Arial><span style='font-size:4.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&nbsp;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><b><font size=3 face=Arial><span style='font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Arial;font-weight:bold'>Scientists are using new technologies to knock
out genes at specific times and locations in the body in an effort to better
understand and treat complex genetic diseases, including heart disease and a
deadly form of childhood cancer. </span></font></b></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=1 face=Arial><span style='font-size:7.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&nbsp;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=3 face=Arial><span style='font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>Professor Mario Capecchi, from the </span></font><font
  face=Arial><span style='font-family:Arial'>University</span></font><font
 face=Arial><span style='font-family:Arial'> of </span></font><font face=Arial><span
  style='font-family:Arial'>Utah</span></font><font face=Arial><span
style='font-family:Arial'>, </span></font><font face=Arial><span
  style='font-family:Arial'>USA</span></font><font face=Arial><span
style='font-family:Arial'>, pioneered using the mouse as a model for human
genetic disease and co-invented the initial technology for knocking genes out
in mice. </span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=1 face=Arial><span style='font-size:7.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&nbsp;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=3 face=Arial><span style='font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&#8220;Many diseases, including some heart diseases and
cancers, are caused by defective genes. This means that there is a defect in
the blue print that controls how our bodies are built and how they
function,&#8221; Prof. Capecchi said. &#8220;As our understanding of disease
increases, including all of its complexities, so will our ability to generate
more effective therapies.&#8221; </span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=1 face=Arial><span style='font-size:7.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&nbsp;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=3 face=Arial><span style='font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>Using new technology, Professor Capecchi has recently
created a mouse model for a rare but deadly childhood cancer, <i><span
style='font-style:italic'>alveolar rhabdomysosarcoma</span></i>, that claims
eighty percent of sufferers within five years of diagnosis. The new technology
allows scientists to knock-out a single gene with high precision and without
affecting any of thousands of other genes. Such gene knock-out studies are
aimed to help our understanding of complex disease in people.</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=1 face=Arial><span style='font-size:7.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&nbsp;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=3 face=Arial><span style='font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&nbsp;&#8220;To understand such diseases, technology needs
to keep abreast of its complexity so that the design of animal model systems
truly reflects in detail the same disease in humans.&#8221;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=1 face=Arial><span style='font-size:7.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&nbsp;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=3 face=Arial><span style='font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>In the past, scientists were limited to knocking out genes
in every cell of the body. They disrupted specific genes in the developing
embryo, before birth, by completely knocking it out of all cells in every
tissue and organ in the body. However many genes have multiple functions in the
embryo and later in the adult. If the gene disruption compromises the mouse
during early development, then that would prevent study of the gene&#8217;s
function in the adult.</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=1 face=Arial><span style='font-size:7.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&nbsp;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=3 face=Arial><span style='font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&#8220;The new technology allows us new freedoms by
specifically allowing the knock-out of genes at any time during development, or
after development in specific tissue, almost down to the cellular level,&#8221;
Prof. Capecchi explained.</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=1 face=Arial><span style='font-size:7.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&nbsp;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=3 face=Arial><span style='font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&#8220;In <i><span style='font-style:italic'>alveolar
rhabdomysosarcoma</span></i>, we knew that a specific gene was generated that
resulted in the initiation of the disease. In the past researchers tried to
create a mouse model using the old technique, but failed. However, with the new
technology we waited until after birth to generate the culprit gene in the
muscles only. Doing so allowed us to develop a mouse model of the
disease.&#8221;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=1 face=Arial><span style='font-size:7.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&nbsp;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=3 face=Arial><span style='font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>Now that the model of <i><span style='font-style:italic'>alveolar
rhabdomysosarcoma</span></i> has been developed, scientists can begin the task
of trying to understand how this gene product causes the disease with the
ultimate hope of developing specific drug therapies that will control this
devastating disease.</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=1 face=Arial><span style='font-size:7.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&nbsp;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=3 face=Arial><span style='font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>Prof. Capecchi is presenting his findings today at the 15<sup>th</sup>
International Society of Developmental Biologists Congress in </span></font><font
  face=Arial><span style='font-family:Arial'>Sydney</span></font><font
face=Arial><span style='font-family:Arial'>. Organised this year by senior
scientists from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute (VCCRI), which is a
research centre for excellence in heart development and adult cardiac stem cell
research.</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=1 face=Arial><span style='font-size:7.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&nbsp;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=3 face=Arial><span style='font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>For further information and interview opportunities with
Prof. Capecchi at the Congress, please contact Samantha Lucia, Communications
and Marketing Manager, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=1 face=Arial><span style='font-size:3.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&nbsp;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=3 face=Arial><span style='font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>Tel: 61 02 9295 8100&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></font><font
  face=Arial><span style='font-family:Arial'>Mobile</span></font><font
face=Arial><span style='font-family:Arial'>: 0415 140
595&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; E-mail: s.lucia@victorchang.unsw.edu.au</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&nbsp;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>&nbsp;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>Samantha Lucia</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>Marketing and Communications Manager</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>------------------------------------------------------------</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=3 face="Times New Roman"><span style='font-size:
12.0pt'>&nbsp;</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>Ph: 61 2 8382 3415</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>Fax: 61 2 8382 3585</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
  font-family:Arial'>Mobile</span></font><font size=2 face=Arial><span
style='font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial'>: 0415 140 595</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>email: <a href="mailto:s.lucia@victorchang.unsw.edu.au">s.lucia@victorchang.unsw.edu.au</a></span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'><a href="http://www.victorchang.org.au">www.victorchang.org.au</a></span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>Level 4, </span></font><font size=2 face=Arial><span
  style='font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial'>376 Victoria Street</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>Darlinghurst NSW 2010</span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=3 face="Times New Roman"><span style='font-size:
12.0pt'>&nbsp;</span></font></p>

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