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A/Professor Ngaire Elwood
Dr Ngaire Elwood completed an honours degree in Pharmacology at the University of Melbourne in 1986. She undertook a Masters in Immunology at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories / Kings College in London prior to completing her PhD in the Cancer Unit at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne. Following postdoctoral positions at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and then at Duke University Medical Centre, USA, she returned to Melbourne to the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in 2001 to establish the Leukaemia/Stem Cell Research Lab in the Children's Cancer Centre.
In February 2007, Dr Elwood became the Director of the BMDI Cord Blood Bank (CBB), one of three public cord blood banks in Australia, which together form the AusCord network. As Director of the CBB, Chair of AusCord (2009 to 2014), appointments on a diverse range of executive committees and an international inspector for the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT), Dr Elwood's skills include strategic planning, governance, change management, policy development, cell therapy manufacturing, regulatory affairs and liaison with stakeholders.
Dr Elwood is a member of the international FACT Board and sits on several FACT committees, including the FACT Cord Blood Standards Steering Committee. She heads the Cord Blood Stem Cell Research Group at Murdoch Childrens and has more than 25 years' research experience in the field of cellular therapy, haematopoietic stem cells, bone marrow transplantation, translational research, cord blood and leukaemia.
- Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne
- Member, Board of Directors, Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) (representing International Society for Cellular Therapies), 2014 – current
- Chair, AusCord Network of public cord blood banks, 2009 – 2014
- International Inspector, Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy, 2008 – current
- Poster Prize at the International Society for Experimental Hematology Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, USA, 2006
- Poster Prize at the Australia and New Zealand Children's Haematology and Oncology Group Annual Meeting, Queenstown, New Zealand, 2006
- Australian Stem Cell Centre Travel Award to attend the International Society of Stem Cell Research 3rd Annual Meeting, San Francisco, June 2005
- American Association for Cancer Research Travel Award to attend the AACR Conference: "Disrupted Transcription Factors in Cancer", San Diego, January 1997
- National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia Biomedical Postgraduate Scholarship,1990 – 1993
- Rotary Foundation Overseas Graduate Scholarship, Awarded to undertake postgraduate studies (M.Sc.) in London, United Kingdom, 1988 - 1989
The BMDI Cord Blood Bank operates as a partnership between Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Childrens Hospital and the Fight Cancer Foundation, and has released more than 500 cord blood units for unrelated bone marrow transplants for treatment of malignant and non-malignant disease. The bank is licensed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT).
Research undertaken in the Cord Blood Stem Cell Research Laboratory is aimed at understanding cord blood stem cell biology, improving cord blood transplant outcome and exploring the use of cord blood for regenerative therapies. A national study is currently underway to investigate the relationship between cord blood telomere biology and cord blood transplant outcome, with the long-term aim of improving selection of cord blood units prior to transplant. The laboratory has established telomere length measurement as a core technology for testing of clinical and research samples and this platform is being used to aid in the diagnosis of diseases such as Dyskeratosis Congenita (DKC).
Flow cytometry, functional assays and molecular biology are being used to characterise the different types of stem cells present in cord blood, and what effect delays in processing and storage of cord blood may have on these different stem/progenitor cell populations. Collaboration with the Heart Research Group is investigating the use of cord blood cells for cardiac repair, while collaboration with the Developmental Disability and Rehabilitation Research Group is investigating a role for cord blood in treatment of cerebral palsy.
- Collection, processing, storage, release and follow-up of cord blood for unrelated bone marrow transplantation.
- Correlation of cord blood telomere length with transplant outcome.
- Establishment of telomere length measurement as a core technology.
- Characterising the different types of stem cells in cord blood.
- Investigating the use of cord blood cells for cardiac repair.
- Exploring a role for cord blood in the treatment of cerebral palsy.
Davies B, Elwood NJ, Li S, Cullinane F, Edwards GA, Newgreen DF, Brizard CP. (2010) Human cord blood stem cells enhance neonatal right ventricular function in an ovine model of right ventricular training. The Annals of thoracic surgery Vol 89 (2), pp 585 – 93
Caitlin E Filby, Robert Williamson, Peter van Kooy, Alice Pebay, MirellaDottori, Ngaire Elwood and FatenZaibak. (2011) Stimulation of Activin A/Nodal signaling is insufficient to induce definitive endoderm formation of cord blood-derived unrestricted somatic stem cells. Stem Cell Research & Therapy Vol 2, pp16
Jeffrey Y.J. Looi, Ngaire J. Elwood, Christian P. Brizard, and Salvatore Pepe (2013). Developing stem cell therapeutics for the heart also requires targeting non-myocardial cells. Heart Lung Circulation Vol 22(12), pp 975-9
Kylie.E. Crompton, Ngaire Elwood, Mark Kirkland, Pamela Clark, Iona Novak and Dinah Reddihough (2014). Feasibility of trialling cord blood stem cell treatments for cerebral palsy in Australia. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 50(7):540-4