The use of stem cell research and therapy in eye care will be one of the topics addressed in a workshop – Innovating the Marketplace with Stem Cells – to be held in Sydney later this month.
The NSW Stem Cell Network, which is hosting the workshop, says there’s a critical gap in taking innovative stem cell therapies to patients.
Professor Bernie Tuch, Founder and Director of the NSW Stem Cell Network, said that Australia was the birthplace of innovative ideas in stem cell research and therapies and has demonstrated some commercial success.
But he said a “chronic lack of funding inhibits the Australian stem cell industry from being able to offer treatments to patients”.
“With multiple stem cell sources and therapeutic options available for each human disease, now is the time to invest in and support the clinical and commercial development of stem cell technologies.”
He noted that stem cell clinical trials at the University of NSW, for the treatment of a corneal eye disease, were very promising, showing a potential therapeutic application.
“A collective effort is needed to push this industry forward. Basic researchers need to become educated as to the part they play in getting their technology to patients and interactions need to improve between Australia’s researchers, clinicians, commercial and regulatory bodies towards driving realistic solutions,” he said.
More than 100 clinicians, scientists, policy makers, investors, IP lawyers, patient advocates, pharma and biotech executives will participate in the workshop, to be held on 29 November at Darling Harbour in Sydney.
The workshop will include a session by Clinical Professor Stephanie Watson from the Save Sight Institute at the University on Sydney. Professor Watson will speak on the subject of transplanting autologous stem cells on a contact lens for blinding corneal disease.
Further information on the workshop is available at www.stemcellnetwork.org.au