Research projects, Robert Harris' research group
We are primarily interested in understanding the pathogenesis of incurable, chronic disease states of the Central Nervous System, including ALS, MS, Alzheimer's disease and glioma brain tumors.
HOW CAN WE TREAT OR CURE THE DISEASES?
There is currently no cure for the diseases we study, and existing medications are only partly effective.
Our main interest is thus on developing new strategies to reduce or abrogate disease symptoms.
We focus on using the body’s own myeloid cells as a means of treating the same individual through ‘personalised cell therapy’ or by targeting these cells for immunomodulation.
Scientific Hypothesis addressed: Adoptive transfer of pre-activated myeloid cells will be an effective treatment for neurodegenerative disease states. We use both macrophages and microglia-like cells in our studies of microglia replacement therapy.
Scientific Hypothesis addressed: Adoptive transfer of amniotic epithelial cells will be an effective treatment for neurodegenerative disease states. The stem-like immunoregulatory properties of AECs that are usually used to protect unborn infants are now applied to immunomodulate neurodegenerative disease processes, and in particular modulation of microglia function.