National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia

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…]

How we and our stem cells get old

Jessica Mar is analysing stem cells to discover the changes that influence ageing.

We all started life as a stem cell. Throughout our lives, stem cells repair and replace our tissues, but as we age they stop working as well. Understanding how this decline occurs is fundamental to understanding—and influencing—how we age. [continue reading…]

Building a blood cancer treatment from the ground up

Mark Dawson has helped to build a new drug to fight an aggressive form of blood cancer, discovering the basic science of gene expression in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), developing the drug to block that action, and leading an international clinical trial to test it.

Mark first explored how genes function in leukaemia, then identified molecules that interrupt the key genetic instructions that perpetuate cancer cells. The drug subsequently developed to treat AML is now the subject of more than 50 clinical trials around the world. [continue reading…]

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:

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. [continue reading…]

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. [continue reading…]

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. [continue reading…]