Trans-Pacific funding for
stem cell research partnership
and Californian scientists searching for a better way to treat multiple
sclerosis (MS) using a world-first adult stem cell technique will benefit from
a major, joint Australian and Californian government
Australia and the Trish Foundation have been funding Professor Claude Bernard
and his research scholars and fellows, research that led to his recent findings
and this grant.
Federal Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek has announced $1.75 million of Australian
government funds will be directed to Professor Claude Bernard and his team of
researchers at Monash University and Dr Andrew Laslett and Dr Carmel O’Brien
from the CSIRO in Melbourne. This funding is in conjunction with a $4.7 million
grant from the Californian Institute of Regenerative Medicine to their
collaborators at the University of California, Irvine.
available therapies can help to control the unpredictable relapses of MS.
However, for those with progressive forms of the disease there are no
treatments that can halt or reverse the nerve damage.
significant grant will allow Professor Bernard and his Australian team to work
jointly with researchers at the University of California. The Trans-Pacific
team will pool their respective expertise in experimental models of MS and human
stem cell technology to develop a stem cell treatment, which they hope will
help promote the repair and regeneration of damaged neurons.
will be using re-programmed human skin cells to make induced pleuripotent stem
(iPS) cells. iPS cells behave like embryonic stem cells and can grow into many
different cell types including the support cells of the brain such as
team will conduct pre-clinical testing of the cells in laboratory models of MS
to confirm their potential to repair the brain. They will also develop and test
the technology needed to reliably produce the human stem cells to the standards
required for future clinical trials in people with MS.
announcement has been welcomed by MS Research Australia Chief Executive, Jeremy
level of international collaboration, in funding and research, is the way we’ll
solve MS. It also recognises the quality of Australian MS research within the
global effort,” said Mr Wright.