News

Stem Cells Australia to continue helping the community make sense of stem cell science

31 January 2020


Stem Cells Australia is shifting its focus. We will soon launch a new website designed to help patients stay up to date with the latest scientific developments and sort fact from fiction when it comes to the use of stem cells in medicine.

History

Over eight years (2011 – 2019), through support from the Australian Research Council, Stem Cells Australia has supported research ranging from enhancing our understanding of the fundamentals of stem cell biology to exploring how to harness the immense potential of these cells for new diagnostic, therapeutic and biotechnological applications.

We developed a sophisticated national network of researchers and underpinning infrastructure, linking over 300 researchers from 14 leading universities and medical research institutes across Australia. 

Key scientific advances from the initiative include growing heart tissue for replacement and testing of new drugs for heart repair, making mini-kidneys in the laboratory to study what happens in kidney disease, using big data to understand cellular identity, and repairing damaged corneas using grafts made from the patient’s own stem cells. 

The initiative was committed to training the next generation of Australian stem cell scientists and graduated over 70 PhD and Masters students, while supporting the career development of over 210 early career researchers. 

The collaboration also lead public debate and discussion about the important ethical, legal and societal issues associated with stem cell science and regenerative medicine. Notably, Stem Cells Australia engaged with the Therapeutics Goods Administrations (TGA) and other regulatory bodies at a national and international level to address the trade in unproven and potentially harmful marketed stem cell therapies.

Stem Cells Australia would like to acknowledge and thank the Australian Research Council for their $24 million investment in supporting stem cell research over the last eight years. 

A new focus

The new Stem Cells Australia website, to be launched in early 2020, will now directly focus on helping the community make sense of stem cell science and how to sort fact from fiction when it comes to the use of stem cells in medicine. 

There remains a lot of conflicting and complicated information online and in the media on stem cells and stem cell therapies. We have joined forces with key community groups and experts in information technologies and communication to design and build the new website which will feature videos, factsheets, as well as links to patient-support groups, professional colleges and other organisations across Australia and around the globe. 

We look forward to sharing more about the website with you soon. 

Stem Cells Australia was originally established by the Australian Research Council under the Special Research Initiative scheme. The new Stem Cells Australia website is supported by the University of Melbourne and has been developed with the help of leading Australian researchers and patient advocacy and community groups.