Stem Cell Biology Research

The Stem Cell Biology Research Group has identified many of the pathways by which hematopoietic stem cell niches are dynamically regulated and how they control the behaviour and fate of normal stem cells. The lab is now studying how abnormal niches promote development of haematological neoplasms and their resistance to treatment and cause anaemia. This work has led to the introduction of Plerixafor (an immunoregulator) to salvage haematopoietic stem cell mobilisation for autologous transplantation in multiple myeloma and lymphoma patients.

The lab is also interested in discovering new therapeutic approaches in order to change survival rates in patients. A highlight of this research is the discovery of two proteins that make leukaemia stem cells resistant to chemotherapy in the bone marrow and the discovery that targeting these proteins can sensitise leukaemia stem cells to chemotherapy in pre-clinical models of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). This has led to successful clinical trials in the USA and Australia showing higher rates of remission in AML patients. This research has recently broadened to understand the mechanisms of pathological heterotopic bone formation that develops in joints outside of the skeleton in victims of spinal cord and traumatic brain injury.