Early career researchers launch roadmap for Australian stem cell science

March 21, 2016

Some of Australia’s brightest young scientists will launch a map for the future of Australian stem cell science, saying Australia has the potential to revolutionise medicine and become a world leader in stem cell research.

The new report, developed with input from world experts, explains recent advancements and presents a roadmap for how Australia can safely and effectively take stem cell research from the lab bench to the hospital bed, and better regulate rogue stem cell therapists offering unproven and possibly risky therapies for commercial gain.

The Stem Cell Revolution: Lessons and Imperatives for Australia recommends clinical trials as the main route to prove the effectiveness of possible new treatments; a national centre to help accelerate the translation of clinical discoveries; and stem cell banks with relevant clinical and genomics data to help facilitate research.

The report also addresses the rise of stem cell tourism and the regulatory environment that allows practitioners to offer unproven therapies. Currently 60 Australian providers are offering unproven stem cell therapies to treat everything from sports injuries to cancer, autism and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Australian Academy of Science last year expressed concern about the regulatory loophole that allows the sale of these kinds of therapies without first proving that they are safe and effective.

The report will be launched by the NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health, Sarah Mitchell MLC at NSW parliament today.

The report is based on a Think Tank convened by the Australian Academy of Science last year with support from the Theo Murphy (Australia) Fund.

Read the media release.

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