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At the frontier of medicine: Towards stem cells therapies for Parkinson’s

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

Professor Clare Parish and Associate Professor Lachlan Thompson from the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and the University of Melbourne, have long been at the forefront of discovery in brain repair, particularly for Parkinson’s Disease. As Parkinson’s Disease is linked to a single type of stem cell, a stem-cell based therapy to replace or repair cells in the damaged region is feasible. 

The research labs of Clare and Lachlan are focused on finding ways to ensure safe and effective incorporation of very specific cells, grown from stem cells, into human patients, following proof-of-concept clinical trials. 

Read more about their research in Stem Cells Australia: At the frontier of medicine

One of the key challenges is the survival of the transplanted cells in the hostile brain environment. Clare and Lachlan are investigating bioengineered scaffolds, which would provide the cells an architecture to grow on. Hydrogels, infused with proteins and other factors for cell growth can also be used, and can provide a buffer from attack. 

Listen is Clare and Lachlan as they share an insight into their research and the merits of a stem-cell based therapy for Parkinson’s Disease – as well as the challenges.


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