The federal Health Minister, Tony Abbott, had announced yesterday that $22 million would be provided over four years towards establishing a national adult stem cell research center in Brisbane. The study about degenerative brain diseases without the use of embryonic stem cells will be performed at the new research center.
Health Minister Tony Abbott and Senate Nationals leader Ron Boswell said that the center at Queens land's Griffith University would be the worlds first dedicated to adult stem cell research. The center will focus on spinal and brain disorders including Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia and motor neuron disease. Mr. Abbott also said that the center's work would complement the existing national stem cell center in Melbourne.
According to the current laws, scientists are allowed to use only spare IVF embryos for stem cell research. But former federal court judge John Lockhart recommended last year that therapeutic cloning should be permitted. It is widely spoken that the Federal Parliament is likely to have a conscience vote on the issue, as it did with the abortion pill RU486. Mr. Abbot stated that the interesting thing about adult stem cell research is that it doesn't raise the ethical problems that many people think is associated with embryonic stem cell research.
Mr. Abbott also said that the Commonwealth Government is committed to ensuring that Australia remains a world leader in health and medical research. The Nationals' Leader in the Senate, Queens land Senator Ron Boswell, says the grant recognizes the work of Queens land scientists in researching adult stem cells. He said that the Griffith team is already using its findings to investigate Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, motor neuron disease, mitochondrial disease and epilepsy.