Mystery proteins reveal how embryos and cancers grow – Melanie Eckersley-Maslin, Melbourne
Genes may hold key to leukaemia survival – Steven Lane, Brisbane
Winners of the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia’s Metcalf Prizes announced today
12 January 2021
Scientists available for interviews:
Using stem cell research to fight cancer has won two Australian researchers $55,000 each in the annual Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research, awarded by the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia.
Dr Melanie Eckersley-Maslin—a new recruit of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre—believes the proteins which control the growth of cells in embryos could teach us how to stop the uncontrolled growth of cells in cancer.
Vital to normal development in early life, these molecules may later play a role in the early stages of cancer or help it spread. If so, we could target them therapeutically and block or slow progression of the disease.
Associate Professor Steven Lane of the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute wants to lift the survival rates of his leukaemia patients. He thinks the key could lie in the genetic fingerprints of the blood cancer stem cells that proliferate the disease.
Steven is studying how these cells become resistant to treatment through genetic changes. He will use the knowledge to develop more effective and tailored therapies, both to prevent and treat potentially fatal relapses.
The scientists have been recognised by the Foundation for their early-career leadership in stem cell research.