Funding advances stem cell research to tackle blindness in children

Posted 1 week ago by Nicole Pope

One of the companies benefiting from the investment is Stem Cells Australia, who will be able to advance a number of projects [Source: Shutterstock]
One of the companies benefiting from the investment is Stem Cells Australia, who will be able to advance a number of projects [Source: Shutterstock]

An investment by the Turnbull Government will see stem cell research tackle blindness in children.

The announcement to invest $3 million into stem cell research and projects will help uncover the cutting edge science, offering new ways to repair parts of the body.

Stem therapy is now so advanced it can be used to develop and test the effectiveness of new medicines and therapies.

One of the companies benefiting from the investment is Stem Cells Australia, who will be able to advance a number of projects including:

  • Treatments for genetic causes of blindness, aiming to save the sight of children

  • Build a model of a human eye from a patient’s stem cells

The Turnbull Government says supporting medical research is a key priority in the national long-term health plan.

Manager of Government Relations at Vision Australia, Chris Edwards says the $3 million funding into stem cell research is a good investment by the Australian Government.

“Investments like this could put us at the forefront of cutting edge development,” he says.

“Similar to the cochlear implant, with enough investment in research, we could be the leaders in the field of curing genetic defects that cause blindness.”

However, Mr Edwards is also in favour of the announcement, based on personal experience.

“As someone with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), I am personally excited about the work being done in stem cell research and genetic mapping into genetic eye conditions. The genetic mapping that’s been done for conditions like RP is really significant and enables the researchers to now conduct human clinical trials and release treatments that have very encouraging results.

Mr Edwards says Vision Australia would like to see even more funding provided to projects like stem cell research because “the more funding that’s provided, the more likely to discover cures/treatments.”

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