Blood stem cells discovery to boost cancer research progress

A study partially funded by the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) creates opportunities in the way some cancer patients can be treated. The blood stem cell discovery has been made by scientists from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in Melbourne.

Led by Professor Doug Hilton, Dr Samir Taoudi and their research teams, the scientists discovered that the Erg gene is key to blood stem cells’ unique ability to self-renew. Research in blood stem cells allows scientists to develop new strategies to combat disease of the blood cells, like leukaemia.

Dr Taoudi from the Molecular Medicine division at the WEHI says that the practical aim of the research now is to find ways for exploiting the Erg gene to eventually create an endless supply of blood stem cells when collected from bone marrow or cord blood.

2010: ACRF awards $2 million to The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (VIC) to expand their two new cancer divisions – the Stem Cells and Cancer Division and Chemical Biology Division

2006: ACRF awards special $5 million Grant to various Melbourne research institutes (including the WEHI) to establish the ACRF Centre for Therapeutic Target Discovery