Stem cell research insight

THE scientist who led the team responsible for Australia’s first in vitro fertilisation birth in 1980 – incidentally a former Churchill woman – will today speak about the potential of stem cell treatment and regenerative medicine.

In a community lecture at Federation University Churchill campus, Professor Alan Trounson will call on Australians to join a global revolution for clinical trials in stem cell and regenerative medicine for the treatment of cancer, diabetes, blindness, spinal cord diseases and the potential cure of HIV or AIDS.

“It’s gone beyond the ethics… if you could cure spinal damage patients with embryotic stem cells there would be no arguments,” Professor Trounson said.

“I’ll be conveying my views to the broader community, including the rural community to help people understand there is something much better arriving in terms of health.”

Prior to his public address, Professor Trounson will speak to first year Monash graduate entry medical students at the School of Rural Health.

He said the system of awarding public money to researchers disproportionately funded older, more established scientists over early and mid-career researchers. 

“There’s an over production of these young people, and no jobs for them. The money for employing is the same as it was 10 years ago,” Professor Trounson said.

“The cost of research and the time spent by young people to get grants is a big problem.”

He said in the United States – where he spent the past six and a half years at a leading California stem cell agency – 80 per cent of young scientists ended up in the biotech industry and 20 per cent in the university sector.

In comparison to Australia, only five per cent end up in the biotech industry.

“We need to change or we’re going to lose people. I’m frustrated by the system,” Professor Trounson said.

The ‘Community Conversation with Professor Alan Trounson’ will be held today in the Auditorium Building 3E, Federation University Australia, Mary Grant Bruce Drive, Churchill from 6pm to 7.30pm.

The meeting is open to the public with an opportunity for questions.

For more information, email or phone 5122 7445.