Professor James Bourne and his team are laying the groundwork for using stem cell transplants to treat brain trauma with the discovery of an anti-scarring agent and new biomaterials to support transplanted cells.
“What we’re doing is a prelude to direct stem cell research. We hope to give potential stem cell therapies for brain trauma the best chance of success,” James says.
He and his team at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University are studying nonhuman primates to understand how to create the best environments for repair after brain injury. Continue reading Building tools for brain repair→
A drug based on a molecule naturally present in infants – but which declines in adulthood – can halve the scarring in brains of those who have suffered stroke. And it can be delivered up to a week afterward.
“We hope our work will improve the recovery of the elderly, as well as people in rural and remote communities, who haven’t had access to speedy treatment following a stroke,” says Associate Professor James Bourne at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI ), and Chief Investigator of the research. Continue reading Fighting stroke damage→
Growing the right number of vertebrae in the right places is an important job – and scientists have found the molecules that act like ‘theatre directors’ for vertebrae genes in mice: telling them how much or how little to express themselves.
The finding may give insight into how the body-shapes of different species of animals evolved, since the molecules under scrutiny are present in a wide range of animals – ranging from fish to snakes to humans.
‘Buddy’ cells that trigger blood stem cells to fully-develop have been discovered by a team of Australian scientists. The finding, in zebrafish, may hold the key to creating blood on demand in the lab.
Everyday medical procedures can require litres of donated blood; and blood stem cells – which can turn into any one of the different types of blood cell – are often used in treatments for leukaemia, lymphoma, and other blood cancers.
An axolotl’s ability to regrow limbs and repair brain and heart tissue could shed light on how humans might one day do the same, after Melbourne scientists discovered the key role played by macrophages, immune system cells, in the animal’s regenerative process.
James Godwin and his colleagues at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) have identified the critical role of macrophages in axolotl tissue regeneration, raising the hope of future treatments for human spinal cord and brain injuries, as well as heart and liver disease.
A Melbourne scientist is harvesting the memory found in reprogrammed adult cells to develop cell therapy techniques that have the potential to cure a number of diseases.
Jose Polo, of Monash University, has found that induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells don’t lose all their memory after reprogramming, flagging the possibility that a better understanding of these stem cells will aid regenerative medicine.
“Basically an iPS cell derived from muscle is more likely to reprogram back into muscle cells, while iPS cells derived from skin will generate skin cells,” says Jose. “And this could influence what type of iPS cell you might choose to generate a specific cell type.”