University of Technology, Sydney biomedical engineer, Dr Carmine Gentile, is the winner of the prestigious Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney adult stem cell research grant for 2020.
The prize money awarded is the sum of $100,000 Australian Dollars.
The work of Dr Gentile involves landmark research using adult stem cells and 3D bio-printing of replacement heart patches to help patients with heart failure.
An expert in his field, Dr Gentile spoke of the benefits of adult stem cell in contrast to the concerns with the issues of embryonic stem cell research.
“Besides serious ethical issues concerning the use of embryonic stem cells, there is also a serious risk that the embryonic cell could be rejected by the patient’s body,” Dr Gentile said.
“This is not the case with autologous adult stem cells because they’re taken from the patient themselves.”
The work and research of Dr Gentile in the realm of heart disease, furthermore, is increasingly relevant to global health and the money granted will only further aid progress in technology that will inevitably increase the quality and quantity for human life.
With proper development, Dr Gentile’s research may help reduce the need for long waiting lists for organ transplants.
“Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Australians. For many of these patients the gold standard treatment at the moment is a heart transplant, which involves finding a suitable donor following a long waiting list. If transplanted, a donor heart carries with it a significant risk of failure as well,” he said.
“But we believe our research could offer a real, long term alternative to heart transplants for patients with heart failure.”
The Archbishop of Sydney, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP congratulated Dr Gentile and his team on the grant, saying the project demonstrates first-hand the power of adult stem cell research to shape medical breakthroughs in its own right – as well as being a more ethical alternative to embryonic stem cell research.
“Not only is this a more responsible approach which shows respect for the great gift of each and every human life, but it also ultimately leads to better outcomes.
“There are less complications involved in transplanting cells from an individual’s own body than using cells which result from the destruction of a human embryo from an embryo”, Archbishop Fisher said.
“If we can potentially save lives through tackling one of Australia’s most pressing health challenges- that of heart failure- through ethically responsible research projects like this one, then future generations will ultimately reap the rewards”, he added.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney adult stem cell research grant is an annual grant given to extraordinary work in this field since 2003.