Catholic Church awards $100,000 grant for stem cell research

Friday, 21 December 2007

Stem cell research that could hold the key to a new treatment for stroke has been supported with a $100,000 grant from the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.

Cardinal George Pell announced the grant this week for an Adelaide-based research team, led by Associate Professor Stan Gronthos (Hanson Institute) and Dr Simon Koblar (University of Adelaide).

The grant will enable Associate Professor Gronthos and Dr Koblar to research the viability of adult stem cells, derived from human dental pulp tissue, to be differentiated into healthy brain cells that could be used to treat victims of stroke.

Associate Professor Gronthos, a University of Adelaide affiliate, is Head of the Mesenchymal Stem Cell Group, Bone and Cancer Laboratories, Hanson Institute; Dr Koblar, from the Schools of Medicine and Molecular & Biomedical Science at the University of Adelaide, is Director of the Stroke Research Programme which is a collaboration between the University of Adelaide and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Cardinal Pell applauded the work being done by Associate Professor Gronthos and Dr Koblar and other researchers in Australia on therapeutic applications for adult stem cells.

"The project of Associate Professor Gronthos and Dr Koblar brings new ideas and new thinking to adult stem cell research, and to the search for new treatments for people who have had a stroke," Cardinal Pell said.

"Their research will initiate and foster a new collaboration between researchers in this area, and I am particularly pleased that the grant from the Archdiocese of Sydney will make a significant contribution to ensuring that their research project goes ahead.

"This is exactly the sort of ethical, innovative and life-enhancing research that the grant was established to promote, and I am delighted that Associate Professor Gronthos and Dr Koblar will join the other distinguished winners of our previous grants in furthering this work."

Ten highly competitive applications from stem cell researchers across Australia were received for this year's grant. The applications were considered by an independent selection panel, which unanimously recommended the project for the grant.

A PhD student co-supervised by Associate Professor Gronthos and Dr Koblar, Dr Agnieszka Arthur, was instrumental in advancing these studies. Dr Arthur is also a co-investigator on the grant and is currently undertaking her postdoctoral training at the Hanson Institute.


Contact Details

Dr Simon Koblar
Director, Stroke Research Programme
School of Medicine
The University of Adelaide (The Queen Elizabeth Hospital)
Business: +61 8 8222 6125 / 8222 6740 / 8313 4336

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762