Press Releases

Press Release: Bringing together stem cell researchers to accelerate translation to the clinic

13 May 2013

Bringing together stem cell researchers to accelerate translation to the clinic

This week experts from around Australia, and two international leaders in the field, will meet to discuss stem cell science and just how close we are to delivering on the promise of this exciting field. Leading scientists, doctors and industry members will share ideas and experiences in an effort to broaden understanding and accelerate progress towards the ultimate goal of new therapies.

Therapeutic Potential of Stem Cells: Prospects & Pitfalls is a symposium co-hosted by Stem Cells Australia and the Bio21 Cluster that will be held at The University of Melbourne on 16 & 17 May.

Australian stem cell research continues to be a vibrant component of our medical research sector. Stem cells are used in laboratories across the country to better understand normal development and what goes wrong in disease, as well as exploring potential new stem cell therapies for a range of conditions.

This two-day scientific symposium provides a unique opportunity to learn the latest about stem cell applications in sports medicine, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, vision loss, drug discovery and cord blood banking.

Australian researchers will be joined by international guests Professor Allan Robins, from ViaCyte USA, who will discuss a new way to treat type 1 diabetes using stem cells that will go into trial in 2014, and Professor Chris Mason, from University College London, who will speak about the progress made in the field and hurdles to overcome as we strive to bring therapies into practice. 

Professor Martin Pera, Chair of Stem Cell Science at The University of Melbourne and Program Leader of Stem Cells Australia said, “Stem cell science has the potential to significantly contribute to future healthcare. While clinical trials are now underway, there remain many challenges. These challenges will only be met by a concerted effort to exchange information and ensure appropriate regulations are in place so that we move towards clinical trials in a responsible manner.”

The program also features a free public forum on stem cells and diabetes, where members of the public can have their questions answered directly by the researchers.

CEO of the Bio21 Cluster Associate Professor Jan Tennent commented, ”We are delighted to have been able to bring together so many leading stem cell researchers. In such a fast-paced, emerging field, it is essential that there are opportunities for knowledge and expertise to be shared between the academic, clinical, commercial and public arenas.”

For more information & registration details for both the symposium and the public forum visit http://bio21cluster.org.au/stem-cells-symposium/.

Stem Cells Australia brings together experts in bioengineering, nanotechnology, stem cell biology, bioinformatics and clinical research to tackle the big questions in stem cell science. This Australian Research Council-funded Special Research Initiative aims to develop innovative biotech and therapeutic applications and has been established by the University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, Monash University, University of NSW, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and CSIRO. 

The Bio21 Cluster is Victoria’s leading biomedical and health sciences research cluster and is committed to creating forums for sharing knowledge, developing ideas and building collaborative networks and resources.  Representing 21 member organisations, including universities, tertiary health services, medical research institutes and CSIRO, the Bio21 Cluster promotes collegiality and fosters strategic and collaborative innovation from basic science through translational research to deliver social and economic benefits.

Media: Associate Professor Megan Munsie (0417 585 621 or megan.munsie@unimelb.edu.au)