Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine

Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine Research Group

Research Group Head

stem-cellsUnderstanding of the innate capacity of the fetus to repair and regenerate tissues and the application of these processes is enabling development of novel organ and tissue regeneration models using stem cells. In particular, researchers in the Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine laboratory are investigating the therapeutic use of cells derived from reproductive tissues such as the placenta and uterus and adult mesenchymal stromal cells derived from bone marrow and adipose tissue.

In collaboration with Professor Euan Wallace and Dr Suzie Miller, the group is also pioneering stem cell use in the fetus and neonate for the treatment of respiratory distress and abnormal neurological development in infants who were growth restricted in utero, born prematurely or following birth asphyxia . The therapeutic use of multipotential stem cells in the treatment of intractable diseases such as cystic fibrosis, brain neurotrauma and spinal disk injury is also being investigated. Having recently completed a successful commercial preclinical trial for treatment of spinal disk injury, this study has now entered clinical trial phase.

Research Projects

Research Group

  • Dr Beth Allison, Research Fellow
  • Dr Margie Castillo-Melendez, Research Fellow
  • Jamie Mihelakis, Research Support Staff
  • Lakshmi Nekkanti, Research Support Staff
  • Amy Sutherland, Research Support Staff
  • James Aridas, PhD Student
  • Dr Christopher Daly, PhD Student
  • Dr Jingang Li, PhD Student
  • Tayla Penny, PhD Student

Selected publications

  • Li J, Kobata K, Kamei Y, Okazaki Y, Nishihara M, Wada H, Tamai H, Funato M, Jenkin G (2013) Nucleated red blood cell counts: an early predictor of brain injury and 2-year outcome in neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy in the era of cooling-based treatment (2013) Brain and Dev. ID P01577394: This clinical paper describes early predictors of brain injury and neurological outcomes in cooled and non-cooled asphyxiated neonates.

  • Castillo-Melendez M, Yawno T, Jenkin G, Miller SL (2013). Stem cell therapy to protect and repair the developing brain: a review of mechanisms of action of cord blood and amnion epithelial derived cells Frontiers Neurosci. Oct 24;7:194. ID PP01619295. An invited review that provides an overview of the work of our group on stem cell treatment of brain injury. It has received significant popular and peer review acclaim and interest.

  • Yawno T., Schuilwervel J., Moss T., Vosdoganes P., Westover A., Afandi E., Jenkin G., Wallace E., Miller S. (2013) Human amnion epithelial cells reduce fetal brain injury in response to intrauterine inflammation. Developmental Neuroscience: 35(2-3), 272-282. This paper describes the use of stem cells to protect the brain against injury caused by intrauterine infection, a major cause of cerebral palsy.

  • Oehme D, Ghosh P, Shimon S, Wu J, McDonald C, Troupis, J, Goldschlager T, Rosenfeld JV and Jenkin G (2013). Mesenchymal progenitor cells combined with pentosan polysulfate can mediate disc regeneration at the time of microdiscectomy. A preliminary study in an ovine model. Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. SPINE13-760R1. An example of the clinical translation work being undertaken combining matrices and stem cells for spinal disk repair and regeneration.

  • Moodley, Y., Ilancheran, S., Samuel, C., Vaghjiani, V., Atienza, D., Williams, E., Jenkin, G., Wallace, E.M., Trounson, A.O., Manuelpillai, U.C., 2010, Human amnion epithelial cell transplantation abrogates lung fibrosis and augments repair, (2010), American Journal Of Respiratory And Critical Care Medicine, 182, 643-651 ID P10588284 A landmark paper describing the use of Amnion Epithelial Cells in BPD, which has resulted in a PCT patent and has now led to commencement of clinical trials.

  • Murphy, S.; Lim, R.; Heraud, H.; Cholewa, M.; Le Gros, M.; De Jonge, M.; Howard, D. L.; Paterson, D.; McDonald C.; Atala A.; Jenkin, G.; Wallace, E. M. (2012) Human Amnion Epithelial Cells Induced to Express Functional Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR). PloS ONE. 7(9):e46533. A landmark paper showing for the first time that stem cell therapy with amnion derived epithelial stem cells may be used in the treatment of cystic fibrosis.

  • Daniela Ulrich, Sharon L. Edwards, Kai Su,, Jacinta F. White, John A. M. Ramshaw, Graham Jenkin, Jan Deprest, Anna Rosamilia, Jerome A. Werkmeister, Caroline E. Gargett (2014) Influence of Reproductive Status on Tissue Composition and Biomechanical Properties of Ovine Vagina. PLOS1; DOI: 10.1371 Research that will form the background to preclinical studies on the use of novel matrices and endometrial stromal cells in the treatment pf pelvic floor prolapse.