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21-06-2008 - Stem cell research: benefits for companion animal therapies and livestock production

Stem cell research: benefits for companion animal therapies and livestock production

Wednesday 21st May 2008

Research in stem cell biology promises to provide long term benefits for animals and livestock production.

In a paper to be delivered at the annual national conference of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), Dr Jonathan Hill says that, with the boom in stem cell biology research for medical uses, will come opportunities for animal health and production applications.

“Stem cell research in animals operates outside human ethical frameworks and provides focus on technology development within the confines of ethical treatment of animals. This will facilitate advances in stem cell biology, applications for therapeutic drug design and safety, clinical trials and commercialisation of products or therapies,” said Dr Hill.

Dr Hill says that research requires a multi-disciplinary team with wide expertise applicable to stem cell/germ cell biology – such as scaffolds/matrix biology, surface chemistry, genomics and cell biology/cell culture.

“Stem cell research promises long term benefits for production animal industries. Benefits may accrue through novel breeding systems, for example testis stem cell transplants whereby transplantation of spermatogonial stem cells between males can result in donor sperm production by the recipient testis, accelerated gamete production in juveniles eg transplanting testis stem cells from newborns to adults, and imprinting of fetal stem cells during pregnancy and using stem cells to clone animals to increase dissemination.

“Therapeutic uses include cartilage transplants in surgical procedures for injured athletic animals. Improving the genetic process and cloning can also combine with gene insertion/deletion techniques to enable study of disease,” said Dr Hill.

In Australia, animal stem cell projects are underway with multi-disciplinary teams including the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Monash and Flinders Universities, University of Queensland, Sydney, Melbourne, together with the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr Jonathan Hill presents his research at the AVA national conference on Tuesday May at 9.00am at the Perth Convention Centre. The session focuses on welfare and ethics of the veterinary profession.

Dr Hill is from the School of Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland.

Download: AVA2008-052 Conference Stem Cells.pdf

Contact: Gillian Nalletamby, Media Officer (02) 9431 5023/0439 628 898
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