Cures for heart disease, stroke and multiple sclerosis could be found in our own bodies, according to a new research team from the University of Melbourne â Stem Cells Australia.
And their research is being backed by a $21 million grant from the Gillard Labor Government.
Announcing the funding under the Australian Research Councilâs Special Research Initiative in Stem Cell Science, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said the $21 million investment could deliver significant breakthroughs in the area of biotechnology and save the lives of thousands of Australians.
âThe Stem Cells Australia application showed innovative research ideas and strong leadership skills. Both are needed to give us a greater understanding of stem cells and hopefully bring about some of the worldâs best medical breakthroughs,â Senator Carr said.
âHeart disease, stroke and multiple sclerosis are common medical problems and we need solutions to save lives, improve quality of life, take pressure off our hospitals and, in turn, ease the burden on our economy.
âThis high-calibre stem cell research team may just find the answers we need.â
Stem Cells Australia will be led by internationally renowned researcher Professor Martin Pera who began his career in Australia, but has recently been directing a major stem cell research centre at the University of Southern California in the United States.
Senator Carr said he was delighted the initiative had lured Professor Pera back to Australia.
âWith his team, Professor Pera will not only conduct quality research, he will create a public awareness unit that will educate the public and encourage public debate into the ethical, legal and public policy issues associated with stem cell science,â Senator Carr said.
âIt is important that we explore these issues and understand the views of all Australians.â
The work of Stem Cells Australia will be strengthened through national and international partnerships, including Monash University, the University of Queensland, the University of NSW, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Florey Neuroscience Institutes and the CSIRO.
For more information on the ARC Special Research Initiative in Stem Cell Science visit www.arc.gov.au/ncgp.