Stem cell research gets $150 million infusion

Doug Hendrie

13/03/2019 3:05:31 PM

The federal funding is part of a push to make Australia a leader in a rapidly developing area of medical science.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt believes stem cells hold great promise in medicine. (Image: Stefan Postles)

A key goal in boosting the research is finding ways to use a patient’s own stem cells as therapy for conditions such as spinal cord injuries, dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
Other goals include using adult and fetal stem cells to develop kidneys with functioning tissue as an alternative to renal replacement and finding ways to apply stem cells through regenerative and precision medicine, and synthetic biology.
The funding, announced by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, will establish a 10-year Australian Stem Cell Therapies Mission, funded by the Medical Research Future Fund.
‘Stem cell medicine is poised to become a core part of mainstream healthcare. It will transform and save the lives of people with incurable diseases,’ Minister Hunt said.
‘We are ready, the science is ready, having progressed phenomenally over the past 10 years. The industry is ready, with appropriate standards in place.
‘The establishment of the Australian Stem Cell Therapies Mission is the first step in a coordinated effort to stimulate regenerative medicine research and industry in Australia.
‘[These therapies] will reduce the burden of disease on patients and carers. They will enhance equity in healthcare by addressing unmet clinical needs.’
The Government estimates that if Australia captured a 5% share of the growing regenerative medicine market, this would represent $6 billion in annual revenue and create approximately 6000 jobs.
The Australian Stem Cell Therapies Mission will be co-chaired by Stem Cells Australia program leader, Professor Melissa Little, and inventor of the Nanopatch, Professor Mark Kendall.
The National Health and Medical Research Council has put more than half a billion dollars into stem cell research over the last six years.
Professor Little told the Herald Sun there is a ‘real chance’ of developing new treatments for chronic disease within a few years.
‘We really need to be developing stem cell medicine here in Australia so Australians are benefiting from this technology,’ she said.
‘Our ability to make a stem cell from any patient also means we have the chance of tailoring a treatment for that patient’s disease by using the stem cells as a model.’

medical research stem cell therapy stem cells

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Kuldip sidhu   11/04/2019 10:26:26 PM

Earmarking 150 million out of the medical future fund towards promoting stem cell therapies here in Australia is in the right direction & will help not only the patient groups in the long run but will also keep this country in the forefront in this area . Cell therapy Is emerging as the third pillar of human medicine, the first & second being small molecules & biologics helping patients already