National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia

National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia

The National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia supports stem cell science and educates the community about the potential and dangers of stem cell therapies.

The winners of the 2016 Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research are:

  • James Chong: Stem cells healing broken hearts
  • Tracy Heng: Making cancer treatment less aggressive and more effective

Read the media release.

The winners will receive their awards at a breakfast ceremony on Wednesday 27 July in Melbourne. Visit the website: stemcellfoundation.net.au

Making cancer treatment less aggressive and more effective

Tracy Heng wants to make cancer treatment gentler and more effective for elderly patients with blood cancer and other blood disorders.

“Bone marrow transplants have transformed survival rates for blood cancers. They replace a diseased blood system with healthy blood-forming cells, but first, doctors have to wipe out a patient’s immune system, which takes a big toll on elderly patients. My goal is to change that,” says Tracy. [click to continue…]

Tracy Heng: making cancer treatment less aggressive, more effective

Stem cells healing broken hearts

James Chong has two starters in the race to develop stem cell therapies for heart failure as viable alternatives to heart transplants. His research is exploring both the potential for transplanted stem cells to regenerate new heart tissue and how to repair a patient’s heart by rejuvenating their own heart stem cells.

“In Australia, 54,000 people suffer a heart attack and 20,000 die from chronic heart failure each year. I want to develop stem cell treatments that can save the lives of the thousands of people who miss out on heart transplants,” says James. [click to continue…]

James Chong, stem cells healing broken hearts, credit The Westmead Institute, Sydney

2015 Metcalf Prizes go to Brisbane and Perth researchers

Teaching stem cells to forget the past – Ryan Lister, Perth

Stem cell encyclopedia leads to new discoveries – Christine Wells, Brisbane

Winners of the National Stem Cell Foundation’s Metcalf Prizes announced today

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Scientists available for photos and interviews in their labs.

Professor Ryan Lister of the University of Western Australia and Associate Professor Christine Wells of the University of Queensland have both received $50,000 Metcalf Prizes from the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia in recognition of their leadership in stem cell research. [click to continue…]

Teaching stem cells to forget the past

Ryan Lister has discovered how adult stem cells retain a memory of what they once were.

He believes he can make them forget their past lives, as for example skin cells, so their history doesn’t limit their new potential to become brain, heart, liver, blood and other cells.

In recognition of his leadership in stem cell research, Professor Ryan Lister of the University of Western Australia has received one of two $50,000 Metcalf Prizes from the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia. [click to continue…]

Stem cell encyclopedia leads to new stem cells

An online encyclopedia created by Christine Wells has led to the discovery of a new kind of stem cell. And that’s just the beginning. Christine’s small Brisbane team has created a resource that the global stem cell research community is using to rapidly share knowledge and fast track stem cell discoveries.

In recognition of her leadership in stem cell research, Associate Professor Christine Wells of the University of Queensland and the University of Glasgow has received one of two $50,000 Metcalf Prizes from the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia. [click to continue…]

Let’s talk about the potential, reality and dangers of stem cells

National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia August newsletter

Welcome to the Foundation’s bulletin on stem cell science and news, and our work in supporting stem cell research in Australia.

Last month we celebrated two emerging stem cell leaders, the inaugural winners of our Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research. The $50,000 awards presented to Kaylene Young and Jose Polo will accelerate their research programs.

This month we’re holding a national tour exploring the potential, reality and dangers of stem cells, with visiting speakers American stem cell pioneers Irv Weissman and Ann Tsukamoto.

Irv is the discoverer of human blood-forming stem cells, while Ann is a leader in the commercial development of stem cell medicine, with a particular interest in neural stem cell research. They will join local experts in each city for a series of public forums that discuss both the potential benefits and risks of stem cell therapies. Read on to find out more about the speaking tour events.

The dangers of and possibilities of treatments have been highlighted in the media in recent weeks. Stem cell tourism and experimental treatments were the topic of two prime time television shows: SBS Insight and ABC Head First. Read on for more about these television shows. Last month also saw the sad news of the passing of an Australian mother-of-two who died while visiting Russia for stem cell treatment. [click to continue…]

The first Metcalf prizes; who’s who of Australian stem cell science; peer-review in action

National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia June newsletter

Welcome to the Foundation’s bulletin on stem cell science, news and our work in supporting stem cell research in Australia.

Australia is home to some remarkable stem cell researchers. Two of them were recognised today by our inaugural Metcalf Prizes.

Kaylene Young believes she can persuade certain lazy stem cells to repair brain injury. Jose Polo is unveiling the details of how stem cells can be produced from adult cells through a process of identity theft and reprogramming.

We’ve been able to award these prizes thanks to the generous support of our donors. We’re calling for more donations now to ensure we can offer future prizes and conduct other initiatives supporting stem cell research and community education.

One such initiative is the Foundation’s new Snapshot of Australian Stem Cell Science: May 2014, illustrating the depth and diversity of local stem cell research. Read on to find out more about the snapshot. [click to continue…]

New national stem cell prizes for Tasmanian and Melbourne researchers

Jose Polo, Donald Metcalf and Kaylene Young. Credit: Mark Coulson/NSCFACould we wake up our brain’s stem cells to repair injury and disease – Kaylene Young, Hobart

How adult cells change identity as they’re turned into stem cells – Jose Polo, Melbourne

Kaylene’s full profile and photos

Jose’s full profile and photos

Scientists available at 10am for photo call and interviews in their labs

Dr Kaylene Young of the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania and Dr Jose Polo of Monash University have both received inaugural $50,000 Metcalf Prizes from the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia in recognition of their leadership in stem cell research.

Kaylene Young believes she can persuade lazy stem cells in our brain to repair brain injuries and even treat diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s.

Kaylene and her colleagues have found neural stem cells and related progenitor cells—which feed, protect and assist nerve cells—in the outer part of the brain most prone to damage, known as the cortex.

By understanding the behaviour and function of these cells, they one day hope to use them for treating nervous and brain disorders or damage. [click to continue…]

Closer to repairing the brain with its own stem cells

Kaylene Young. Credit: Mark Coulson/NSCFAHobart researcher Kaylene Young believes she can persuade lazy stem cells in our brain to repair brain injuries and even treat diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s.

Dr Kaylene Young of the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania has received an inaugural $50,000 Metcalf Prize from the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia in recognition of her leadership in stem cell research.

She and her colleagues have found neural stem cells and oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs)—which feed, protect and assist nerve cells—in the outer part of the brain most prone to damage, known as the cortex.

By understanding the behaviour and function of these cells, they one day hope to use them for treating nervous and brain disorders or damage.

“Our ultimate goal is to harness the regenerative capacity of these cells for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, mental health disorders, and traumatic brain injury,” says Kaylene.

To assist in her work, the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia has awarded Dr Kaylene Young—National Health and Medical Research Council RD Wright Biomedical Research Fellow and Research Group Leader at the University of Tasmania—one of two inaugural Donald Metcalf prizes each worth $50,000. [click to continue…]

New stem cells via identity theft and reprogramming

Jose Polo and Donald Metcalf. Credit: Mark Coulson/NSCFAJose Polo is unravelling the details of how stem cells can be produced from adult cells through a mix of identity theft and reprogramming. It is work that needs to be done before such stem cells can be used safely in medicine.

In recognition of his leadership in stem cell research, Associate Professor Polo of Monash University has received an inaugural $50,000 Metcalf Prize from the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia.

The award is named for Australia’s pioneering stem cell researcher, Professor Donald Metcalf, AC, of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, who is an internationally renowned expert on haematopoiesis or blood cell formation.

Jose’s work is unveiling the development of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells —stem cells generated from skin, liver, blood or any other body cells. It is an important step along a path which could lead to treating degenerative diseases and understanding some cancers.

“When talking about my work, I often use the analogy of a library, where the genes in the cells are the books,” says Jose. “Every cell is a library which contains the same set of books, but they differ in terms of which ones are open and which are closed—in blood vessel cells the books on blood vessels will be open, and in pancreatic cells the books on the pancreas. I want to find the mechanism that opens and closes those books.”

Jose has already made two major strides forward. [click to continue…]

Young talent time in stem cell research; new treatment information handbook; meet an unlikely marathon-running fundraiser

National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia October newsletter

Welcome to my occasional bulletin on stem cell science, news and the ongoing work of the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia.

October’s a busy month for the Foundation, as the region’s top stem cell researchers converge on Brisbane for the 6th annual meeting of the Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research (ASSCR).

[click to continue…]

50 grants for early-career researchers and students; therapeutic cloning in the news; and scientists meet patients in Melbourne

National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia June newsletter

The first half of 2013 has seen the Foundation’s formal launch and the commencement of our grant programs and outreach activities.

We’re extending our support to the stem cell research community with 50 travel grants for early-career researchers to join Australia’s premier stem cell research meeting in Brisbane later this year. There are plenty of speaking places for junior investigators, awards for posters and presentations, and a special networking event to introduce them to leaders in stem cell research. [click to continue…]

Setting the record straight on stem cell tourism; Foundation sponsors diabetes community forum; and an update on our first researcher

National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia April newsletter

I’ve been both excited and concerned to see stem cell stories in the media this year.

The Foundation has enjoyed the media attention following our launch. But we’ve also been alarmed by the growing number of reports of people travelling overseas for unproven treatments and the explosion of clinics, here in Australia and overseas, offering treatments using stem cells derived from fat cells.

[click to continue…]