Commentary and discussion on aspects of stem cell research

Stem cell banking: A UK perspective on a global challenge

The UK Stem Cell Bank was established in 2003 to store, characterise and supply ethically approved stem cells for medical research and treatment. It was the first government funded public service collection of stem cells and it has played an important role in developing and maintaining standards in the UK and internationally. So what exactly does it do and why do we need this type of stem cell banking?  Glyn Stacey, Director of the UK Stem Cell Bank, tells us more.

Non-fiction writing competition: send us your science writing, go graphical or submit a poem

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We're running our first ever writing competition! Surprise us with your imaginative science writing, wow us with your graphic non-fiction or impress us in poetry. Upload your entry by the deadline on 30th June and you could win 300 Euros and see your work live online.

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Stem cell therapies and neurological disorders of the brain: what is the truth?

There have been several claims that stem cells can already be used in patients affected by neurological disorders. What do we really know about these therapies and how should these claims be viewed?

Making red blood cells: A model of stem cell therapy development

Translating laboratory research into cell therapies raises many complex questions and challenges for both science and society. Social scientist Emma King spent four years following a regenerative medicine research project to examine how clinical translation might work in practice. Here, she reflects on what she learnt and what it might mean for the development of future therapies.

Commercial cell therapies in Europe – a brief introduction

Work on regenerative medicine is not only happening in academic laboratories, novel cell-based therapies are also being developed by commercial companies in Europe and across the world. Michael Morrison, a social scientist with a focus on science, technology and innovation, takes a look at what is happening in the European commercial sector.

 

 

How can patients get good information about research? A patient's view

Federica Balzani is 28 years old. She recently took part in our session at the International Public Communication of Science and Technology 2012 conference, where we discussed ideas about the best ways to provide information about the latest scientific research findings for patients. Here, Federica shares some thoughts on the role of the internet in providing this information, the challenges of picking out the reliable from the misleading, and her ideas about how the problems might be tackled.

EU funding adds value to Europe’s stem cell community

The European Commission has funded groups of European stem cell scientists to work together across national boundaries. Elena Cattaneo is coordinator of one of those groups, NeuroStemcell. Here, Elena reflects on the value of European level support for such collaborative research, and introduces the film Behind the Science - an inside view of EU research consortia.

Stem cell patents: legal aspects

©iStockphoto.com/Ssolbergj©iStockphoto.com/Ssolbergj

*New 18 June 2012*: The EU ban on embryonic stem cell patents is legally flawed, argues a paper and public lecture by Aurora Plomer, Chair of Law and Bioethics at the University of Sheffield, UK. Find out more.

June 2011: Lately there have been several cases on the patentability of inventions related to human embryonic stem cells (hESC) in Europe. Now the first case has reached the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the highest European court, whose decision will be binding for all EU member states.

The judgement of the ECJ is still outstanding. However, the Advocate General Yves Bot offered his opinion on the case, which points towards a complete prohibition of patents for inventions relating to hESC. While the court does not have to follow the opinion, it does so in a majority of the cases.

Tick-tock goes the clock: Laboratory modes of anticipation

The world of science can seem remote to those of us outside the lab. So what is it like to be a scientist? I am a social anthropologist and am interested in understanding how everyday science works. I have spent the last six months in a stem cell research laboratory, observing what the researchers do day-to-day. It turns out that unexpected objects such as the laboratory timer play an important role.

Realizing the potential of embryonic stem cells: how far have we come?

Thirteen years after the first report of human embryonic stem cells, what have we learnt about them and what hurdles still remain to be overcome?