policy

German survey highlights high public awareness of stem cells

A survey carried out on behalf of the Stem Cell Network of North Rhine Westphalia (KSNRW) has suggested an increase in support for stem cell research among the German public compared to levels identified in other surveys over the last five years. Interviews with over 1000 adults showed a high level of support for research on both tissue (adult) stem cells and embryonic stem cells.

Science at the Senate: workshops in Italy on Science, Innovation and Health

Andrea Grignolio is a historian of medicine, currently teaching History of Medicine at University of Rome “La Sapienza” and working in the Senate Office of stem cell biologist and senator, Elena Cattaneo. He has a keen interest in science communication and is currently working with Prof Cattaneo on a series of events that bring together scientists and politicians. He told us more about the effect this new events programme is already having in Italy.

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.

Stem Cell Research: Trends and Perspectives on the Evolving International Landscape

New report on stem cell research reveals the field is growing twice as fast as the world average.

Stem Cell Research: Trends and  Perspectives on the Evolving International Landscape presents a comprehensive analysis of the growth and development of the stem cell field, with particular focus on embryonic stem (ES) cell and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell research outputs. The report was jointly prepared by Elsevier, Kyoto University's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) and EuroStemCell, and will be discussed on 6 December 2013 at the World Stem Cell Summit in San Diego.

ISSCR and Institute of Medicine Workshop Recap: Unregulated Stem Cell-based Treatments

The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has for some years been a voice in the debate over unregulated stem cell treatments, advocating for careful oversight but cognizant of the plight of patients facing critical diseases and their need for hope.

Last week, the ISSCR, along with the Institute of Medicine of the USA, hosted a workshop to explore issues faced in the clinical application of stem cell treatments, in particular, the practice of unproven stem cell therapies. The meeting brought together representatives from the research and medical communities, national scientific and medical academies, regulatory advisors, consumer protection and patient advocacy groups.

Unproven stem cell therapy goes to trial

A controversial and unproven stem cell procedure is to be evaluated in a controlled clinical trial, following a vote in the Italian Senate last week.

The Italian Parliament’s Chamber of Deputies had last Monday voted to amend an earlier controversial decree by Italian Senate, which allowed the unproven stem cell method developed by the Stamina Foundation to be used for severely or terminally ill new patients for 18 months.

Scientists raise alarm as Italian Government rules on unproven stem cell therapy

An unproven stem cell therapy has taken centre stage in Italy after patients successfully lobbied the Italian government to allow its use in public hospitals. The highly controversial and untested procedure was created by the privately owned Stamina Foundation, but blocked by the Italian Medicine's Agency, AIFA. Last week's decision by the Ministry of Health to override AIFA's block has horrified Italy's leading stem cell scientists. In a letter to the Ministry, they describe the decision as providing "a dangerous short circuit between patients' hopes and lucrative commercial practices" of organisations operating outside the "scientific and moral foundations" of medicine.

What to expect from the new Clinical Trials Directive

A specialist discussion event regarding the revision of the EU Clinical Trials Directive (CTD) was held at the European Parliament Information Office in London on the 22nd of February 2013.  This event was initiated by EuroStemCell and OptiStem in collaboration with the European Parliament Office in London and featured OptiStem Principal Investigator, Prof Michele De Luca as a panellist. Read on for a description of the event from Georgina Massouraki and a storify summary of lots of interesting event tweets, put together by Corin Campbell.

Legal expert: ECJ ruling on patents is legally flawed

Last year, the European Court of Justice ruled that no patents can be granted in Europe for inventions or technologies based on the use of embryonic stem cells. In a recent article, Professor Aurora Plomer, Chair of Law and Bioethics at the University of Sheffield, UK, argues that the Court's decision "represents an unprecedented and illegitimate constitutional interference with the autonomy of member states and a setback for science and the rights of those suffering from crippling diseases".

Patients and researchers urge EU to keep funding embryonic stem cell research

Patient associations and leading research funders have called on the European Parliament to continue EU funding for embryonic stem cell research. The Wellcome Trust issued the group's joint statement last Friday 15th June, ahead of parliamentary debates this week in which MEPs will discuss the EU's next major research and innovation funding programme, 'Horizon 2020'.