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Tuesday / August 9.
HomeminewsStem Cell Robot Will Help Fight Eye Disease

Stem Cell Robot Will Help Fight Eye Disease

The Centre for Eye Research (CERA) has purchased an Automated Stem Cell robot that will enable the facility to maintain the adult stem cells required for the study of macular degeneration, glaucoma and other eye diseases that lead to vision loss.

Using adult stem cells, sourced from the skin cells of patients, CERA researchers produce eye cells for disease modelling which allow for new drug therapies to be developed.

Funding for the purchase of the robot was donated to CERA by Peter and Joan Clemenger.

The robot was switched on by Peter Clemenger AM at a ceremony attended by the Federal Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane; members of CERA’s Vision Regeneration program; Principal Investigator Neuroregeneration Dr. Alice Pebay, and Principal Investigatory Clinical Genetics, Dr. Alex Hewitt.

Hopefully this will make real progress to eliminating eye disease and blindness in my lifetime

Mr. Macfarlane said the robot is the first of its kind in Australia and a significant new asset for Australia’s research community to build on the nation’s knowledge base of eye research.

Dr. Hewitt said the automated stem cell facility was a “powerful ally in the fight against disease… Thanks to the generous donation from Mr. and Mrs. Clemenger, we can now get working on production patient specific individualised stem cells from a larger number of people, which will certainly expedite our research and shorten the time required for clinical translation, said Dr. Hewitt. “We can make a real impact as we work our goal of preventing blindness and restoring sight.”

Dr. Pebay said her team of researchers is excited about the prospect of working with the samples delivered by the robot. “It’s very difficult to get tissue samples from within the eye so the stem cells obtained by reprogramming skin samples in larger quantities will give us more to study than
ever before,” she said.

Mr. Clemenger who, along with his wife, is a strong supporter of eye research said, “Hopefully this will make real progress to eliminating eye disease and blindness in my lifetime, as well as encouraging other researchers from around the world to collaborate with CERA here in Melbourne using this world class facility.”

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