Press Releases

Press Release: Australian researchers part of international team to combat heart disease

17 June 2013


An international consortium of cardiac stem cell experts, including Professors Richard Harvey and Nadia Rosenthal, have been awarded a prestigious grant to better understand the role of these cells in heart function and repair.

Although stem cells are present in the heart throughout life, exactly where they reside and how to best coax them into action in patients with acute or chronic heart disease, remains poorly understood.

The six year USD$6million grant awarded by the France-based Fondation Leducq Transatlantic Networks of Excellence will enable this multi-disciplinary international team to reveal more about cardiac stem cells and their role in heart function and repair.

Consortium members includes Professor Richard Harvey from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and Professor Nadia Rosenthal from the Monash Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute and Imperial College, London, as well as researchers from US National Institutes of Health, Universite De Pierre et Marie Curie, Sorbonne Universite, Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and San Diego State University. The consortium is headed by Professors Torn Finkel and David Sassoon.

Commenting on the grant, Professor Rosenthal said, “The last decade has seen a tremendous interest in the possibility that cardiac stem cells could be used to help patients. However, we need to better understand their characteristic roles and interactions with other cells of the heart if we are to develop sophisticated regenerative therapies for the future.

This grant provides an unprecedented opportunity to bring together experts from across the world to comprehensively evaluate these cells.”

Professor Martin Pera, Chair of Stem Cell Science at The University of Melbourne and Program Leader of Stem Cells Australia commented, “Nadia Rosenthal and Richard Harvey are leading cardiac stem cell researchers and their involvement in this prestigious grant, and the international consortium it supports, will enhance the profile of Australian research in this field and accelerate the translation of basic discoveries in heart regeneration towards clinical application.” 

Professors Rosenthal and Harvey lead Stem Cells Australia’s Cardiac Regeneration and Repair Program.

Fondation Leducq is a French non-profit health research foundation whose mission is to improve human health through international efforts to combat cardiovascular disease. The Cellular and Molecular Targets to Promote Cardiac Regeneration project is funded by their Transatlantic Networks of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research Program.

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

Stem Cells Australia is an Australian Research Council funded Special Research Initiative, bringing together Australia’s premier life scientists to address the big questions in stem cell science. Stem Cells Australia has been established 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 and CSIRO. www.stemcellsaustralia.edu.au