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First Hints That Stem Cells Can Help Patients Get Better

In a National Public Radio 'All Things Considered'  5 minute segment, listen to the story of two women losing their sight to progressive forms of blindness.  They may have regained some vision while participating in an experiment testing a treatment made from human embryonic stem cells, researchers reported.

The report marks the first time that scientists have produced direct evidence that human embryonic stem cells may have helped a patient. The cells had only previously been tested in the laboratory or in animals.

Teachers' TV: Stem cell research- The Issue

Stephen Cuff is only 39, but he suffers from Parkinson's Disease and it has turned his life upside down. He can no longer look after his two children and basic day-to-day activities like shaving, takes him a long time. Conventional drugs have not been successful for Stephen, leaving him no option but to undergo brain surgery. Stephen's operation is successful, but it doesn't cure him. One potential future cure is embryonic stem (ES) cell therapy. Professor Wilmut introduces us to the concept of stem cells and the science behind them, whilst presenting his opinion of the technology. Alison Davies, the chair of No Less Human, is a wheelchair user who would refuse ES cell therapy if it were available. She offers a different ethical perspective as to why the use of ES cells should not be permitted.

Teachers' Domain- Stem cells: Seeds of Hope

This activity adapted from the HHMI Outreach Program at Harvard University demonstrates the ways in which stem cells can be used to treat and help cure diseases in humans. The activity explains what stem cells are and how they're produced, and provides details on their existing or potential therapeutic role in diseases related to the pancreas, liver, lungs, and bone marrow.  This resource includes a background essay, video and dscussion questions.

Hope Beyond Hype: a story of stem cells from discovery to therapy

This story, in comic book form, provides a realistic and accurate introduction to the complex process of developing best practice clinical stem cell-based treatments, in an interesting and engaging way.

Hope Beyond Hype can be viewed online and downloaded for free, with dynamic interactive and multilingual versions of the graphic story and a related board game coming soon.

EdHeads Stem cell transplant

Learn what a stem cell transplant is, meet two patients and help the EdHeads scientists perform one.  Teachers' guide and worksheet are included.

Moral Continuum: A Card Sorting Activity involving Cloning and Stem Cell Research

Putting things in order of importance and showing the reasons for the order is a way to apply theoretical knowledge. Done as a group, this exercise also explores the concerns and priorities of different people.  Ranking information takes time and allow for time at the end for discussion. Download UNESCO's book, ' Moral Games for Teaching Bioethics', print the cards from Game 10 (page 39) and read the accompanying teacher background and notes.

The Biotechnology Revolution: Engineer Skin

Biotechnology is becoming one of the most important economic driving forces in advanced societies, bringing endless improvements to the health and quality of life of the population. What are the latest applications of biotechnology? What are the challenges for the future?

Anna is living with diabetes.  She has a painful ulcer on her foot that can be treated using adult stem cells and engineered constructs assembled in a laboratory.  Your job is to engineer a replacement tissue to treat Anna's diabetic foot ulcer.  This resource is available in English, French, Catalan, Polish and Spanish.

Stem cells: Cells with potential

Stem cells are the source, or “stem,” for all of the specialized cells that form our organs and tissues. There are many kinds of stem cells, but two types have made frequent appearances in the news: embryonic stem are present in very early—and very tiny—embryos, and produce the first cells of the heart, brain, and other organs. They have the potential to form just about any other cell in the body.

Planaria: A window on regeneration

Humans may not look much like flatworms, but there’s a surprising overlap between our genome and that of a planarian due to our distant yet common past. At least one of the genes we share is expressed in both planarian and human stem cells and is likely to be involved in regeneration. 

This engaging web-based presentation explores regeneration in nature in planaria and why this is medically interesting for humans.

Brain POP: Stem cells: They are what they need to be

What are stem cells and why are they so controversial? In this BrainPOP movie, two characters give you the rundown on what makes stem cells different from regular cells. They’ll show you how stem cells may one day be used to cure diseases and grow new organs and limbs. You’ll also learn the differences between the various types of stem cells, including embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, and adult stem cells. Do you support stem cell research? Watch the movie to learn the basics and decide for yourself! 

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