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At the Frontier of Tomorrow’s Medicine: Understanding stem cell division in the gut to limit the growth of tumours

08 March 2019
Meet Australian researchers who use stem cells to advance our understanding of how the body develops and what happens during disease.

Associate Professor Helen Abud, one of Australia’s foremost stem cell researchers, conducts pioneering research on the stem cells located in the inner lining of the bowel. 

These stem cells constantly replenish the specialised tissue which acts to both absorb nutrients from food and provide a barrier to disease-causing bacteria. Tissue from a patient’s own bowel can be grown in the laboratory to study intestinal diseases including inflammatory bowel disease and bowel cancer. These three-dimensional aptly named organoid cultures are derived from stem cells and can be used to test various therapies to find what works best for the patient’s specific type of disease or tumour. 

Recently, the team discovered a molecule that regulates how stem cells divide, which might be able to block to limit the growth of the tumours. 

Associate Professor Helen Abud is the Head of the Epithelial Regeneration laboratory at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. Associate Professor Abud and her team’s research is at the frontier of tomorrow’s medicine. 

Listen to Associate Professor Abud and Dr Thierry Jarde’s stories as they share an insight into their research, their journeys into a scientific career and their personal rewards. 


Australian stem cell researchers are making important discoveries in the lab, that will move research outcomes towards clinical applications. Watch their videos