Stem cell researcher to use national prize to treat brain conditions

Posted: June 3, 2014 at 3:44 am

ABC Researcher Kaylene Younger is one of two inaugural recipients of the Metcalf Prize.

A Tasmanian researcher will use a $50,000 national prize for stem cell research which may help treat conditions like Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis.

Dr Kaylene Young has won an inaugural Metcalf Prize from the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia.

Her research has already uncovered that people have lazy or inactive brain cells and are common in people with multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's and other degenerative diseases.

They are also found in people with a brain injury.

She has told ABC Local Radio her research will help improve the understanding of brain cell behaviour in order to treat disorders or damage.

She believes she can persuade cells to self repair and wake up, either by stimulation or electrically.

"[I'm] really trying to find what it is that controls their behaviours, what makes them divide, what makes them able to generate different types of brain cells in order to be able to use them for therapeutic treatments for things like Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and even brain cancers," Dr Young said.

"What I am really trying to do is push our endogenous stem cells, the stem cells that are already in our brain every day, to just work that little bit harder."

Dr Young says the award is a great honour.

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Stem cell researcher to use national prize to treat brain conditions

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