Victoria-California stem cell collaboration tames the immune system

The Victoria, Australia, innovation Minister Gavin Jennings is talking up a Victoria-California research team working to develop a therapy for autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

“The project highlights the value of collaboration between world-leading centres like Victoria and California in biotechnology and stem cell research. It is yet another demonstration of our commitment to take action to improve the quality of life for millions of people around the world.”

The team is one of CIRM’s Transplantation Immunology Awards, this one led by Kenneth Weinberg at Stanford University (read a summary of their project). In that same round of funding a Victorian scientist teamed up with Scripps Research Institute’s Jeanne Loring.

CIRM has formed collaborative partnerships with ten organizations in U.S. States or internationally. These are intended to build partnerships between leading stem cell scientists, wherever they may be working. As a state agency, CIRM’s money only goes to the California researchers, with our partners supporting their scientists. So far it’s been a very successful program, with 14 awards including international research partners in Canada, Germany, Japan, the U.K., and Victoria, Australia. You can find those awards on our stem cell grants table.

In the project Jennings discussed, the researchers are looking for a way of regulating the immune system, which causes autoimmune diseases when it attacks the body’s own organs and tissues.

“This project is critical to us learning more about how to regulate the immune system in a bid to enhance the potential of stem cell derived tissue transplants as therapies to combat MS and other conditions.”