Medical research at the cutting edge – Alan Trounson

Alan Trounson

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Prof. Alan Trounson
MSc, PhD, Dr (Hon Causa),
Emeritus Professor (Monash University)
President, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, San Francisco, USA

Professor Trounson is President of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) in San Francisco. Prior to joining CIRM in 2008, he was Professor of Stem Cell Sciences and Director of the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories at Monash University, where he retains the title of Emeritus Professor. Professor Trounson founded the National Biotechnology Centre of Excellence or ‘Australian Stem Cell Centre.’ He has been a pioneer of human in vitro fertilisation and associated reproductive technologies; pre-implantation genetic diagnosis; as well as the discovery, production and use of human embryonic stem cells.

Prof. Alan Trouson


I have had the experience of working in two major areas of human medicine that have been challenging and rewarding, and have provided some of the most heated debate on medical ethics and disturbance of established social mores. In many respects this made the developments even more difficult because they were frequently and avidly opposed by entrenched religious, political and gender advocates. The medical developments have been extremely successful. In the first place, human in vitro fertilisation (IVF) whose genesis occurred in the 1970s and 1980s has resulted in more than five million births worldwide and can no longer be simply quantified. In some countries with liberal health support systems, more than 3% of all live births are by IVF. The second great quantum development resides in stem cell based therapies, whose influence will be even more pervasive and influential, and whose significance is only just being evaluated in preclinical and clinical trials. This work has evolved from discoveries in bone marrow transplantation in the 1980s and 1990s and embryonic stem cell discoveries between 1998 and 2000…