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Australia’s first stem cell research to help with joint pain and disfigurement

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The Albanese Government is investing almost $7 million in Australia’s first stem cell research that will enable live stem cells to be 3D printed in order to treat damaged body parts.

This is bringing new hope to Australians living with a physical disfigurement, such as the loss of an ear or nose, due to disease or trauma, or painful joint conditions such as osteoarthritis.

All Australians in these circumstances deserve access to personalised, tailored care that is delivered with patient safety as the highest priority.

The Aristocrat project will deliver a framework for the use of point-of-care manufacturing of 3D-printed cartilage so it can be consistently and safely used for patients with a variety of health concerns.

The project aims to prevent osteoarthritis, a painful joint disease, meaning 2 million Australians could benefit from it annually, including 50% of people over 65 years old who currently live with painful deformed joints each year.

1 in 2000 newborns are at risk of ear deformities that are either untreatable at an early age or have lifetime risks if treatments are performed on children under 10.

The project will reduce the number of surgeries required, and reduce hospital visits and the need for long-term care. This will also reduce the emotional and physical impacts on children.

The framework will guide the use of stem cells so they can be safely used in the treatment and repair of damaged tissue for patients with a range of conditions. This will deliver bespoke, personalised treatment options for people living with conditions that cause physical pain and emotional distress.

The impact of joint deformity or facial disfigurement can be physically debilitating as well as mentally challenging, and many Australians will benefit from this life-changing technology.

The research has the potential to give Australian patients a new outlook on life, repairing or replacing damaged tissue and advancing personalised health care in Australia.

The project will receive almost $7 million through the Australian Government’s $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund.

The project is one of seven receiving a total of $24.4 million through the latest Stem Cell Therapies grant opportunity, boosting research into new treatments using stem cells.

Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ged Kearney said, “Many Australians are left struggling after disease or accidents. They deal with painful, potentially debilitating joint or facial disfigurements which impact their health and well-being.

“This is not only life-changing for Australians but also promising for what else we can do to deliver personalised health care.

“This Australia-first research is bringing together expertise from around the country to deliver an innovative solution for patients and offering hope to thousands of Australians.”

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