Paving the way for future stem cell-based treatments

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Funding for reNEW was provided by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, an international philanthropic foundation based in Denmark. The 300 million euro grant runs over a 10-year period from 2022.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded up to DKK 2.2 billion (300 million euro) over a 10-year period for the center, which is established as a partnership between three leading research institutions.

A deep understanding of stem cell biology in organ development, tissue repair and disease mechanisms is essential to harness the therapeutic potential in stem cell medicine, delivering hope for new treatments across many currently untreatable diseases.

The reNEW centre is structured around a consortium of three institutions: the University of Copenhagen – where the centre’s governing hub is based, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Australia and the Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands.

Dr Sara Howden, Phenomics Australia Scientific Leader is part of the reNEW Melbourne-based Node, she is the Head of the iPSC Derivation & Gene Editing Facility, a Phenomics Australia In Vitro node at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Read more here.

The aim of the reNEW centre is not just to further stem cell-based research but also to strengthen the pathway from scientific discovery to targeted outcome, whether in the form of new medical technology or new forms of treatment for the benefit of patients. Research activities will revolve around three overall themes:

  • Use of stem cells to regenerate or recreate damaged or destroyed tissue, paving the way for novel therapies for diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, congenital heart disease, diabetes, ulcerative colitis and chronic renal disease
  • Screening of potential drug candidates using stem cell-based models of human tissue.
  • Development of new treatment strategies for genetically inherited diseases, using a combination of gene editing and stem cell technologies.

Embedded in the reNEW research activities is PREPARE, an interdisciplinary research team that aims to bridge the gap between research, the clinical, regulatory, and commercial sectors, and the public.

Additional information:

Phenomics Australia provides a national centre of expertise and service provision to deploy a more comprehensive and sophisticated range of in vitro Genome Engineering and Disease Modelling capabilities to understand the functional consequences of DNA sequence variation in the human genome for health and disease while maintaining the expertise for in vivo disease modelling and genome engineering. To meet the high demand for adaptable and scalable disease-modelling platforms for improved diagnosis, Precision Medicine for genetic disorders, and therapeutic development by both academia and the biopharmaceutical industry, Phenomics Australia offers In Vitro services through a collaborative consortium of ten laboratories and facilities across Australia, operating at ANU (ANU Centre for Therapeutic Discovery), Perkins (Translational Cancer Research Program in Oncology), Monash (Monash Organoid Program & Monash Genome Modification Platform), MCRI (iPSC derivation & Gene Editing Facility), Peter Mac (Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics), UMelb (Centre for Stem Cell Systems & Stem Cell Disease Modelling Laboratory), UQ (In vitro Genome Engineering and Disease Modelling Service), and VCCRI (Stem Cell Production Facility iPSC Reprogramming Service)

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