A major boost for radical stem cell research

Stroke Foundation has applauded the announcement of $150 million dollars in funding for stem cell research, saying it has the potential to benefit stroke survivors well into the future.

The Federal Government unveiled the Australian Stem Cells Therapies Mission, to be delivered through the Medical Research Future Fund.

Stroke Foundation Research Advisory Committee Chair Professor Amanda Thrift said the Australian Stem Cell Therapies Mission had the potential to be life changing for stroke survivors as well as those impacted by heart disease, spinal cord injuries and kidney disease.

“Stroke can change lives in an instant. It attacks the brain, our most vital organ,” Prof Thrift said.

“We know that some people recover from stroke much faster than others, but we still don’t understand why their brain seems to rewire or repair itself while other survivors struggle with their recovery following similar strokes”.

“There is still so much to learn about the brain, and this Mission will investigate how stem cells can regenerate and repair the damage caused by stroke and other neurological conditions.

“High quality and effective research projects are crucial to expanding our knowledge to help patients recover and live well.

“Research takes time and a great deal of money, but when the breakthroughs come they benefit generations,” she said.

Currently, there are more than 475,000 stroke survivors living in the Australian community, most with an ongoing disability. By 2050 this number is expected to reach more than one million.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive officer Sharon McGowan said too many Australian families continue to be devastated by stroke when it can be treated and with targeted research, it can be beaten in the future.

“Advancements in stroke treatment mean more Australians are surviving stroke, now we must focus our attention to ensuring survivors can make the best recovery possible,” Ms McGowan said.

“Today’s announcement is an important step in that direction.”

The Australian Stem Cells Mission builds on the Australian Cardiovascular Mission previously announced by the Government.

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