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QIMR Berghofer researcher appointed to Stem Cell Advisory Panel

QIMR Berghofer Senior Research Fellow Dr Siok Tey has been appointed to the Federal Government’s Stem Cell Therapies Expert Advisory Panel that will help progress the long-term plan for stem cell research in Australia.

Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that Dr Siok Tey, who is the head of the Translational Cancer Immunotherapy Laboratory at QIMR Berghofer, would be part of the 12-person advisory panel.

As part of a $150 million Stem Cell Therapies Mission, a draft Roadmap has been released for public consultation that will help guide the 10-year investment in medical research.

Dr Siok Tey’s appointment as an advisory panel member was in recognition of her significant experience, expertise and contribution to the field.

Dr Tey’s Translational Cancer Immunotherapy Laboratory at QIMR Berghofer is one of only a few groups in Australia that are conducting investigator-driven clinical trials using gene-modified T cells.

She has led Australia’s first clinical trial using immune cells that have been genetically engineered to make blood stem cell transplantation (also known as bone marrow transplantation) safer. Bone marrow transplantation is the only chance of a cure for patients with high-risk forms of blood cancer, with about 700 Australians undergoing the procedure each year.

Dr Tey is now working on the next generation of clinical trials to use gene-modified cells to fight blood cancer and treat complications of bone marrow transplantation.

QIMR Berghofer’s Director and CEO, Professor Frank Gannon, said Dr Tey would bring world-leading experience to the panel.

“Dr Tey is an outstanding appointment to this new advisory group,” he said.

“It is great to see one of our leading researchers at QIMR Berghofer involved in furthering stem cell research that could provide new treatments for cancer and other diseases.”

The Stem Cell Therapies Expert Advisory Panel includes researchers from 12 Australian universities and research institutes.

The Federal Government is funding the mission through its $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund.

The first grant opportunities under the Stem Cell Therapies Mission will begin in the coming months.