Sydney (Agenzia Fides) – The Archdiocese of Sydney has just awarded a grant to Dr. Carl Walkley to support and foster research on the therapeutic potential of adult stem cells. Dr. Walkley is from the St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research. Although still working with mice, which have similar cell structures to humans, Dr Walkley's project is aimed at improving the success of transplanted adult stem cells in regenerating blood formation in patients suffering blood disorders such as leukaemia or cancer. With the aid of the Archdiocese, Dr. Walkley will join another researcher to expedite his work. More than 1800 Australians are on the waiting list for an organ transplant, and about 100 die every year waiting for transplants.
On hand to officially present the grant at the Garvan Medical Institute in Darlinghurst was the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, who told the assembly of researchers that the Archdiocese has so far awarded four grants to support four different types of research on adult stem cells. The Cardinal said: “I don't suggest this grant is a large one, but I was keen to do it because I hoped it would be seen as a sign of church leadership in terms of science, healing and research. In the past there has been hostility to adult stem cell research which has made the process very difficult. We have seen change. Dr Walkley's project will make a significant contribution to medical science." The primary role of adult stem cells in a living organism are to maintain and repair tissue in which they are found. The Sisters of Charity, who founded St Vincent's Hospital in 1857, established the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. It began its existence as a small research department of St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney. The Institute is still a member of the St Vincent's and Mater Health Campus and is affiliated with the University of New South Wales. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 22/3/2010)