Eyes, heart, skin, kidneys & blood: what’s the state of play with stem cell research?
Highlights from the Stem Cell Research - Now and in the Future public forum
These are just some of the things a live audience learnt from six Australian stem cell scientists at the ‘Stem Cell Research—Now and in the Future’ forum—the public event held in the lead up to the ISSCR 2018 Annual Meeting in Melbourne.
Your bone marrow makes one million new mature blood cells every second. Your life depends on it!
- You can take one bone marrow stem cell and regenerate the entire blood system in the lab.
- Your skin is a vital barrier. Without it, you’re vulnerable to dehydration and infections from bacteria, fungi and other pathogens.
- Skin grafts for treating burns and other skin conditions can restore a protective barrier and can be made from stem cells found in the epidermis.
- Stem cell researchers now want to produce skin tissue that has hair follicles and sweat glands, that comfortably stretches, cools itself down and has the sense of touch.
Cardiac disease affects at least 1.4 million Australians and almost 350,000 will have a heart attack at some point in their life. One in every two people with severe heart failure will die within one year of diagnosis. Stem cells may have the potential to treat heart failure.
- Kidneys are complex organs with two million little tubules called nephrons. The stem cells that form nephrons are gone by the time you’re born.
- Beware, some of the clinics offering experimental treatments for conditions like multiple sclerosis may have no experience treating that condition at all.
The Foundation sponsored the event to give people an opportunity to hear from the top scientists and clinicians in town for ISSCR 2018.
The audience heard about the current state of play with research and treatments for eye, skin, heart, kidney and blood disorders. They also had the opportunity to ask the panel their own questions; from what inspired the panellists to become stem cell scientists (with one freaky sci-fi related answer), to the treatment options here and overseas for MS.
You can now watch the full event video recording on our website in the video gallery.
As host and organiser Megan Munsie says in the introduction, “We hope that after tonight’s presentations and the opportunity for you to ask questions, you’ll know a little bit more about what stem cell research is, what stem cells do in the body and possible the applications of stem cell science for the future.”
Watch out for:
A big “thank you” to the panellists, the event partners, the student ambassadors, and especially Megan Munsie who hosted and organised the event.
- Susie Nilsson’s simple schematic of how the different blood cell types are formed
- Metcalf Prize winning cardiologist James Chong’s video of stem cell-derived heart muscle cells beating under a microscope
- the moving personal story of Daniel Feller whose son Harry has Usher Syndrome, which causes deafness from birth and blindness in adolescence.