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  • Chief Medical Scientist and Head, Myeloma Research Laboratory and Co-Head, Regenerative Medicine Program, Department of Haematology, SA Pathology
  • Member, Centre for Stem Cell Research, Robinson Institute, University of Adelaide
  • Member, Centre for Cancer Biology, SA Pathology

Research interests

Mesenchymal Precursor/Stem Cell (MPC) therapy is emerging as the new paradigm for treating and potentially curing many human diseases. MPCs are non-hematopoietic progenitor cells which possess multi-lineage differentiation potential and have the ability to augment tissue repair. Using pre-clinical animal models of human disease, Prof. Zannettino's group has shown that placement of MPCs into the disease/damaged tissue environment promotes endogenous tissue repair. While their mechanism of action remains to be completely defined, studies suggest that MPCs are a source trophic factors that exert multiple effects, including the recruitment of the body’s own tissue specific precursor cells, promotion of blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) and inhibition of apoptosis.

Specific research interests are:

  1. To identify MPC-derived factors that promote tissue repair/regeneration;
  2. To identify the role played by the mTOR signalling pathways in promoting MPC differentiation;
  3. To assess the efficacy of MPC to promote cardiac, bone repair and cartilage repair in pre-clinical animal models of disease;
  4. To assess the efficacy of MPC therapy to inhibit cancer growth in an animal model of the haematological malignancy, multiple myeloma.


  1. Goldschlager T, Ghosh P, Zannettino A, Williamson M, Rosenfeld JV, Itescu S, Jenkin G. A comparison of mesenchymal precursor cells and amnion epithelial cells for enhancing cervical interbody fusion in an ovine model. Neurosurgery. 2011 Apr;68(4):1025-34; discussion 1034-5.
  2. Field JR, McGee M, Stanley R, Ruthenbeck G, Papadimitrakis T, Zannettino A, Gronthos S, Itescu S. The efficacy of allogeneic mesenchymal precursor cells for the repair of an ovine tibial segmental defect. Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol. 2011;24(2):113-21. Epub 2011 Jan 11.
  3. See F, Seki T, Psaltis PJ, Sondermeijer HP, Gronthos S, Zannettino AC, Govaert KM, Schuster MD, Kurlansky PA, Kelly DJ, Krum H, Itescu S. Therapeutic Effects of Human STRO-3-Selected Mesenchymal Precursor Cells and their Soluble Factors in Experimental Myocardial Ischemia. J Cell Mol Med. 2010 Dec 14. doi: 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2010.01241.x. [Epub ahead of print]
  4. Psaltis PJ, Carbone A, Nelson AJ, Lau DH, Jantzen T, Manavis J, Williams K, Itescu S, Sanders P, Gronthos S, Zannettino AC, Worthley SG. Reparative effects of allogeneic mesenchymal precursor cells delivered transendocardially in experimental nonischemic cardiomyopathy. JACC Cardiovasc Interv. 2010 Sep;3(9):974-83.
  5. Psaltis PJ, Paton S, See F, Arthur A, Martin S, Itescu S, Worthley SG, Gronthos S, Zannettino AC. Enrichment for STRO-1 expression enhances the cardiovascular paracrine activity of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal cell populations. J Cell Physiol. 2010 May;223(2):530-40.
  6. Goldschlager T, Ghosh P, Zannettino A, Gronthos S, Rosenfeld JV, Itescu S, Jenkin G. Cervical motion preservation using mesenchymal progenitor cells and pentosan polysulfate, a novel chondrogenic agent: preliminary study in an ovine model. Neurosurg Focus. 2010 Jun;28(6):E4. PubMed PMID: 20521963.
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