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VIC Stem Cell Network - Monthly Seminar Series (June 2013)

04:00 PM - Tuesday 04 June, 2013

Join us on Tuesday 4  June 2013 to hear Dr Don Newgreen from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute discuss potential cell therapy for Hirschsprung Disease

Time: 4pm – 5pm (refreshments served following seminar)

Venue: Level 5 Seminar room, MBC, The University of Melbourne

Abstract: Cell therapy for Hirschsprung Disease-potentials and problems

Don Newgreen, Ben Rollo, Dongcheng Zhang, Lincon Stamp, Qizhi Chen

In Hirschsprung Disease patients, there is an absence of enteric neural crest derived ganglia (neurons and glia) in the distal colon, which causes failure of peristalsis in the affected gut segment.  Hirschsprung Disease is detected in neonates and treated by surgical resection of the affected segment bowel segment (plus a “safety margin” of adjacent apparently normal bowel), and anastomosis of upstream colon to the rectum.  While surgery is life-saving, many patients endure serious medical and social consequences.  It is possible that introduction of endogenous neural crest stem/progenitor cells into the aganglionic bowel could restore peristaltic function without this bowel resection.  Towards this aim we will discuss general problems with working with human patient material, methods for identification and isolation of neural crest-lineage cells from resected patient bowel tissue, transfection of reporters into these cells for cell tracking experiments, and current tests to establish if transplanted human neural crest-lineage cells are capable of producing a nerve network in previously aneural human gut muscle tissue obtained from Hirschsprung patient colon.  In addition, we will discuss the possibility of using a degradable polymer scaffold with a potential to allow efficient clinical delivery of neural cells into Hirschsprung colon.

Don Newgreen (MCRI, Melbourne) has held post-doctoral positions at the Institute d'Embryologie et Biologie Moleculaire (Paris, France), the Max-Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology (Tuebingen,Germany), Dept of Cell and Structural Biology, Manchester University (UK) and Dept Paediatric Surgery Westmead Hospital (Sydney).  His major research interest has been cell movement, particularly in the embryonic neural crest system, and how errors of cell movement lead to birth defects. This has also led to interests in invasive cancers, since the molecular underpinnings of cancer invasion replicate embryonic cell migration programs . He uses techniques from classical experimental embryology to cell and molecular biology to mathematical modelling. This has produced new understandings of the way cell movement is started and how it is guided in development and cancer, and has identified fundamental errors leading to the neural crest birth defect Hirschsprung Disease. He is also actively investigating neural crest stem/progenitor cell therapies as a potential novel treatment for this disease.