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.

Visit the website: stemcellfoundation.net.au

2020 Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research

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.

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Mystery proteins reveal how embryos and cancers grow

Can embryology shed light on cancer growth?

Dr Melanie Eckersley-Maslin.
Credit: Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Proteins which control the growth of cells in embryos could teach us how to stop the uncontrolled growth of cells that is the hallmark of cancer, thanks to work by molecular biologist Dr Melanie Eckersley-Maslin.

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.

In recognition of her leadership in the field, Melanie has received one of two annual $55,000 Metcalf Prizes from the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia.

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Genes may hold key to leukaemia survival

Brisbane scientist awarded for research into new blood cancer treatments

Professor Steven Lane. Credit: QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Clinical haematologist Associate Professor Steven Lane 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.

In recognition of his leadership in stem cell research, he has received one of two annual $55,000 Metcalf Prizes from the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia.

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2019 Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research

Permanent hearts and changing breasts spur stem cell research

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

Monday 4 November 2019

Scientists available for interviews

Breast epithelial cells in culture, viewed through a microscope
Credit: Dr Teneale Stewart/Davis Lab, Mater Research Institute, UQ

The stubborn endurance of heart cells and remarkable plasticity of breasts have won two Queensland researchers $50,000 each in the annual Metcalf Prizes, awarded by the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia.

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Stem cells and calcium affect breast function

Brisbane scientist targets knowledge gap in women’s health

Mammary biologist Dr Felicity Davis is investigating how breasts change through life: how they develop during puberty, alter during pregnancy and change back after breastfeeding is complete.

A scientist at the University of Queensland’s Mater Research Institute, she is examining the role stem cells play in this remarkable tissue plasticity.

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Newborn babies offer clues for healing hearts

For a few short days after birth, the heart can regenerate damaged tissue. Enzo Porrello wants to understand why this ability turns off, so that he and colleagues can switch it back on to heal broken hearts.

Understanding regeneration could lead to new treatments for different types of heart disease, the world’s biggest killer, from birth defects to heart attacks late in life. [continue reading…]

Leukaemia: studying the cancer cells that get away

Heather Lee is analysing individual cancer cells to understand how some survive therapy. Her research ultimately aims to prevent relapse and lift survival rates for leukaemia.

Heather invented a way to study the genetics of individual cells more closely that will help her find out why some cancer cells are treatable, and others go rogue. With her new technique, she can see the chemical ‘flags’ that tell the cell how to interpret its genetic code. At the same time, she can watch how those instructions are—or aren’t—carried out.  [continue reading…]