A researcher holding a microscope slide

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine (reNEW), led by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute Chief Scientist Professor Melissa Little, has released its first annual report.

The report highlights the work accomplished by reNEW, a global consortium that focuses on translating stem cell science into therapies since its launch on 1 January 2022.

With 29 principal investigators working across three nodes located at the University of Copenhagen, Leiden University Medical Centre and Murdoch Children’s in Melbourne, reNEW’s inaugural year has focused on pivoting from fundamental science to targeted product-focussed projects.

“reNEW researchers perform cutting-edge stem cell research across almost all organ systems in the body,” reNEW CEO Professor Little said. With this knowledge, we are moving towards therapies within our targeted research portfolio. 

Melissa LittleImage: Professor Melissa Little

From start to end of our first year, we have funded 29 targeted research projects, each focused on moving towards a distinct stem cell product. This represents a forward commitment of more than $43.5 million,” she said.  

reNEW’s targeted projects cover the development of novel therapies using stem cell models of human tissues as well as cell- and gene-modified cell based advanced therapeutic medicinal products (ATMPs). More than 80 percent of the teams now working toward these products represent global cross-node collaborations. 

Professor Little said, “Our collaborative gain is a significant driver. We are able to fund critical facilities and infrastructure required by all nodes, enabling teams to adopt new approaches previously out of reach.

“We are also working toward outcomes across a wide array of disease states and are very excited to be associated with two clinical trials, one towards the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, and the other for the treatment of severe combined immune deficiency, she said. 

Professor Little said another outcome from reNEW’s first year was the successful international exchange of researchers, with almost 300 days of reNEW researcher exchange enabling training in new techniques, planning within teams, as well as attendance at workshops and conferences.

We are confident that the synergy we are creating across nodes will drive outcomes,” she said. 

Learn more about the reNEW Melbourne node and the work Murdoch Children’s researchers are undertaking