Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE: Accelerating stem cell discoveries into tomorrow’s medicine

01 August 2018


1 August 2018: Stem Cells Australia and The University of Melbourne have welcomed $3 million Federal Government funding to advance stem cell research and develop new treatments for blindness for children and congenital heart disease.

Stem Cells Australia and The University of Melbourne have welcomed $3 million Federal Government funding to advance stem cell research and develop new treatments for blindness for children and congenital heart disease.

The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grant, will be used to support national teams of experts to take stem cell research from the laboratory into the clinic. 

The two initial projects will focus on using stem cells to test new ways to save the sight of children with rare genetic defects that slowly cause blindness, and to pioneer new approaches for the treatment of congenital heart disease.

Stem Cells Australia Program Leader and University of Melbourne Professor Melissa Little said stem cell science has now advanced to the stage where it can impact future medical treatments.

“We can use stem cells to assess whether a new drug or gene therapy is safe and effective, as well as explore how to repair parts of the body through stem cell therapy,” Professor Little said.

“This funding will go a long way in helping our research.”

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis welcomed the announcement.

“The University greatly values its partnership with Stem Cells Australia and the significant work its researchers undertake,” Professor Davis said.

“This funding will enable researchers at Stem Cells Australia to apply their knowledge in key areas of unmet medical need, which will benefit people well into the future.”

Stem Cells Australia’s expert team of doctors and scientists will be supported by partnerships with key Australian charities including Genetic Cures Australia and HeartKids. Additional disease teams will be instigated in the coming year. 

More about Stem Cells Australia:

Stem Cells Australia was established in 2011 with the support of the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council’s Special Research Initiatives scheme, with the objective of discovering how to regulate stem cells. Based on the research performed to date, Stem Cells Australia will now use this understanding to harness the potential of stem cells for diagnostic, therapeutic and biotechnological purposes. The consortium links over 300 experts in bioengineering, nanotechnology, stem cell biology, advanced molecular analysis and clinical research across Australian universities and research institutes.

Stem Cells Australia was instigated by The University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, Monash University, University of NSW, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute joined the in 2016. The University of Sydney, Western Sydney University, University of Wollongong, University of Tasmania and University of Western Australia will join the initiative in 2018. The University of Melbourne will remain the administering organisation.

For more information, please contact:

Emma Sun

0466 133 480