Stem Cells Australia | Australian research, stem cell treatments and clinical trials | The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia | Home | Stem Cells Australia

Welcome!

We're here to help you make sense of stem cell science.

Are you searching for information about stem cells, therapies or latest discoveries? Stem Cells Australia offers independent advice to guide you in your research.

Our website has been developed with the help of leading Australian researchers, patient advocacy and community groups with the support of the University of Melbourne.

To navigate through this website, you have three options. Use the Body Map below to learn how stem cells may help those diagnosed with certain conditions, click a relevant question on the blue information discovery guide, or use the menu at the top of the website.

sca cell images Kidney disease

Blood, Circulatory & Respiratory Systems

Looking for a condition that's not listed? Contact us.

Brain & Nervous System

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Brain & Nervous System

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Muscular & Skeletal Systems

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Digestive & Urinary Systems

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Reproductive System

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What are stem cells?

There are more than 200 different types of cells in the human body. Each of these has a specific job. For example, red blood cells carry oxygen. By contrast, stem cells are unspecialised and are capable of 1) making a copy of themselves, and 2) creating the more specialised cells needed to replace those lost to injury, disease and daily wear and tear.

There are two main types of stem cells. Tissue stem cells are found in many of our organs but can usually only create cells of that organ. Pluripotent stem cells that are more primitive and in the lab can be coaxed to form any cell type in the body.

Both types of stem cells are important. They have different qualities that determine when researchers and doctors use them in their work.


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How are new treatments developed?

If you have seen a stem cell treatment advertised, featured in the media, or mentioned to you by a friend or fellow patient, it can be hard to work out if it may be an option for you.

Although there is a lot of attention surrounding the potential of stem cells, in reality, the range of diseases for which there are current proven stem cell treatments is quite small. Within Australia the only proven treatments available involving stem cells are corneal and skin grafting, and blood stem cell transplants for the treatment of some blood disorders, inherited immune and metabolic disorders, cancer and autoimmune diseases. There are many other potential treatments, but these are still in the research phase or in clinical trials and are yet to be proven as safe and effective.

This page provides a breakdown of the steps that should occur before a stem cell treatment makes it to you in a clinic, and identifies who should be looking after your interests.


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What questions should I ask?

With important health decisions, it can be daunting trying to figure out how to proceed.

Before deciding to visit a stem cell clinic at home or abroad you should ask lots of questions.

Whether you are searching for information about stem cells for yourself, or for a friend or family member, just remember you are not alone.

Your Australian general practitioner or medical specialist can be a great place to start. This section offers you some resources to help you get some answers.

More information

Here are some questions to ask your Australian GP or specialist about stem cells and your options:

Download questions for your doctor

 

Here are questions you should ask the stem cell clinic that you may be considering, whether they are in Australia or overseas:

Download questions for the clinic

 

You might also find it helpful to read our response to questions we frequently get asked.

Find out more


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