Driving stem cells from the lab to the clinic

Published as part of Australia and China Science and Technology Week at the Shanghai World Expo 2010.

Cancer, increasing the success rate of IVF, and developing stem cell banks, are all targets of a partnership between Australian and Chinese stem cell scientists that is revealing the true nature of stem cells and moving discoveries out of the laboratory and into the clinic.

Established in 2007, the Australia China Centre for Excellence in Stem Cell Sciences connects the people, knowledge, and scientific technologies of Peking University and Monash University.

“Stem cell research is all about treating people. So, when you’ve got 1.3 billion people, the numbers of people turning up to hospital in China is a remarkable resource that has helped us. That’s a resource that has helped us to more rapidly drive our pre-clinical research through to the clinic,” says Professor Richard Boyd, who jointly leads the Centre with Professor Lingsong-Li head of the Peking University Stem Cell Research Centre.

Four interactive workshops have led to the formation of a number of collaborative pre-clinical and clinical research projects and commercial opportunities. The workshops have also extended the collaborative networks in China, leading to new nodes of the Centre being opened at Harbin Medical University and the West China Second University Hospital in Chengdu.

The team is now focusing on developing comprehensive stem cell banks, induced pluripotential stem cell therapy to model an individual’s disease in a test tube, and genetically predicting the success of an embryo before implantation.