Funding to advance research into stem-cell based therapies

Prof Melissa Little will be the co-chair of the Australian Stem Cell Therapies Mission. Source:News Corp Australia

Stem Cells Australia and The University of Melbourne have welcomed $150 million Federal Government funding towards research into new ways to treat congenital heart disease, blindness, stroke, dementia and kidney disease.

The Australian Stem Cell Therapies Mission, funded through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grant, will enable critical stem cell research to continue.

This includes using stem cells to find new drugs to stimulate heart repair or improve function, helping patients with corneal damage or cataracts to see again, or making immune cells from stem cell to assist repair in neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

Stem Cells Australia Program Leader and University of Melbourne Professor Melissa Little, who is also Cell Biology Theme Director at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, said stem cell science has been a strength within Australian biomedical research for many decades.

“We are the stage where we can now apply what we have learnt in the lab to the clinic, impacting the future of medicine,” Professor Little said.

“New treatments will need to be carefully designed and evaluated. This mission will allow Australian patients and researchers an opportunity to contribute to next generation medicine.”

University of Melbourne’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Jim McCluskey welcomed the announcement as a major boost to Australia’s community of outstanding researchers working on stem cells and regenerative medicine.

“In particular, this will build on the work of Stem Cells Australia, a publicly-funded partnership with The University of Melbourne, other Australian universities, and medical research institutes,” Professor McCluskey said.

“This funding, in addition to funding last year for research into treatments for blindness in children and congenital heart disease, will allow researchers to continue their important work into improving the quality of health of people living with debilitating conditions.”

“The stem cell community in Australia is strong and united. This support can be the catalyst for change. And while there remain many barriers to translation into therapy, by bringing together the scientists, the clinicians and the community, there is hope” concluded Professor Little.

Media coverage:
7 News: “Stem cell research has been given a $150 million funding injection” – 13 March 2019
MTPConnect: “Breaking News: $150M Stem Cell Research Injection” – 13 March 2019

News Source: Stem Cells Australia

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The Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research (ASSCR)