On the eve of World MS Day, Federal Minister for Health the Honourable Tanya Plibersek announced AUD$1.75 million in National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding for the Australian arm of an international stem cell study.
The long-term goal of this new research is to develop a stem cell-based therapy that will not only halt ongoing loss of myelin but also lead to remyelination and repair of damaged nerve tissue. International research efforts will concentrate on refining techniques for production and rigorous quality control of clinically-compatible transplantable cells generated from high-quality human pluripotent stem cell lines, and to verify the therapeutic activity of these cells.
Professor Claude Bernard and his team at the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories will work with Drs Andrew Laslett and Carmel O'Brien from CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering and their partners at The Universities of California, Irvine and San Diego and the Scripps Research Institute on this three year project. The US partners were funded with AUD$4.87 million from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Commenting on announcement Stem Cells Australia’s Professor Martin Pera said, "This is an exciting project that will take some promising early stage research and push it towards the development of a cell based therapy for multiple sclerosis. It is another great example of how leading stem cell scientists here join with collaborators overseas to help tackle the big challenges involved in translation of stem cell research into patient treatments."
MS Australia estimated that 21,000 Australians, and 2.5 million people worldwide have MS.
For more information:
Multiple Sclerosis therapy: Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Neural Progenitor Cells [CIRM]
Government funds world-first research into multiple sclerosis [Australian Minister for Health]
Tans-pacific funding for MS stem cell research partnership [MS Australia]
Funding boost for MS research partnership [Monash]
UCI stem cell researcher to receive $4.8million in state funding [UCIrvine]