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WATCH: Stem cells and Organoids – new insights into health and future therapies

November 15, 2023

Can lab-grown eye tissue test gene therapies for blindness?

Could models of muscle help us understand heart problems?

Hear what the experts shared at a public event with Q&A the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Australian researchers are growing thousands of beating heart tissue clusters in the lab. They’re used to find drug treatment for heart attack patients.

In Sydney, eye tissue grown from patient stem cells is helping in the development of treatments for inherited eye diseases.

Melbourne scientists developed a neural system combining 800,000 living brain cells, which was able to demonstrate intelligence-like behaviour by learning to play Pong!

Researchers call these models of organs made from stem cells ‘organoids’. They are paving the way for new or more targeted treatments for inherited eye diseases, brain disorders, certain types of cancer, and more.

Organoids, such as heart or kidney organoids, can be made from healthy stem cells and are used to study normal organ development or to test drugs in living, functional tissues.

‘Disease in a dish’ organoids recreate a condition in the lab. They are either grown from stem cells derived from patient biopsies or from stem cells engineered to have a specific gene defect. They’re shedding light on poorly understood diseases and helping to find and test new treatments.

Watch the event recording:


Hear from a panel of researchers and clinicians sharing their expertise on:

  • lab-grown tumours for testing cancer treatments: Professor Helen Abud, Monash University
  • blindness and deafness: Dr Anai Gonzalez Cordero, Children’s Medical Research Institute, Sydney.
  • heart and muscle conditions: Dr Richard Mills, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, reNEW Melbourne.
  • brain conditions: Associate Professor Silvia Velasco, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, reNEW Melbourne.
  • ethical and legal implications of emerging technologies: Professor Di Nicol, University of Tasmania.

The forum was hosted by Foundation director and a leader in the societal implications of stem cell science and its clinical translation Professor Megan Munsie, from University of Melbourne, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and reNEW Melbourne.

This event was held on Tuesday 14 November 2023, hosted by the Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research and supported by the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia. It was also proudly supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine, reNEW, and the NSW Stem Cell Network.

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