2017 Australian of the Year ready to Light the Night and share his myeloma journey

Light the Night Brisbane - White Lantern Ambassador Professor Alan Mackay-Sim

Professor Alan Mackay-Sim is a neuroscientist interested in using stem cells for two purposes: for understanding causes of neuropsychiatric diseases and for transplantation repair of the nervous system.

Professor Mackay-Sim was scientific director of a clinical trial in which cells from the nose (called olfactory ensheathing cells) were transplanted into the injured spinal cord to test their safety in three paraplegic patients. This trial provided a world-first precedent for a clinical trial in Poland in which a patient was able to walk after being transplanted with his own olfactory ensheathing cells.

This research saw Professor Mackay-Sim named the Queensland Australian of the Year and the Australian of the Year in 2017.

In 2015, Professor Mackay-Sim was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, requiring treatment through radiotherapy, chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. The Leukaemia Foundation has supported Professor Mackay-Sim throughout his journey with myeloma, including through a free exercise program which helped the keen bike rider get back on his feet and back on his bike.

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