Stem cell research aims to slow down aging process
RESEARCHERS at the University of Queensland are hoping to slow down the aging process by studying stem cells.
A $7 million research centre at the university has been launched this week and will focus on building knowledge and developing techniques for slowing down the depletion of stem cells and consequent loss of function in the body as we age.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the UQ Centre in Stem Cell Ageing and Regenerative Engineering (UQ-StemCARE) was confident of making major breakthroughs in the next few years.
"Science tells us that when we age our bodies start turning off our stem cell functionality - our body's natural regeneration mechanism - and we start losing the ability to heal ourselves," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"UQ-StemCARE will look at what causes this decline in stem cell numbers and function, and investigate ways we can slow the process.
"The research will have profound implications for fighting age-related illness, such as osteoporosis, age-related vascular diseases and neural disorders such as dementia and Parkinson's disease."
Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch congratulated The University of Queensland for providing the $7 million in funding for UQ-StemCARE and said the new centre put local scientists at the forefront of global research into stem cells, regeneration and ageing.
"There will be 9.6 million Australians aged over 65 and 1.9 million over 85 by 2064 - more than a quarter of the total population," Ms Enoch said.
"The costs of healthcare for this number of older people will stretch health budgets," Ms Enoch said.
"And it's not just Australians - this is an issue around the world. A prime example is China, where a quarter of the population will be elderly by 2030."