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

We hope you enjoy ‘Hope Beyond Hype’: a story about stem cell therapies from lab bench to hospital bedside. You can also visit our Hope Beyond Hype project page to learn more about how we are travelling around Scotland connecting stem cell scientists with Scottish communities.


Launch the interactive version of Hope Beyond Hype

Click the comic above to read the story in online flipbook form, watch videos and explore additional resources and layers of information, ask questions and leave feedback.

Hope Beyond Hype: other formats

About this project

The Hope Beyond Hype graphic story grew from the desire of OptiStem, a large European consortium of stem cell researchers, to go beyond just explaining the science of stem cells.  They wanted to depict the process they undertake as they try to move stem cell research on towards clinical trials and therapies.


About OptiStem

OptiStem is a pan-European stem cell research project funded by the European Commission under FP7. It brings together scientists, companies and clinicians from 18 institutions across six countries.  During the course of the five year OptiStem project, members will carry out four different clinical trials concerning muscular dystrophy, severe corneal injury in the eye and severe damage to the oral mucosa (inside of mouth).  OptiStem partners with EuroStemCell to tell people about the work they do.

Embryonic vs Adult Stem Cell Research

There has to be a distinction made between embryonic and adult stem cell research- embryonic stem cells terminate a viable human embryo, a human being with a separate and unique set of chromosomes, while adult stem cells can be culled without killing the life they are taken from. Glossing over this extremely contentious issue is insulting to your audience, and ignores the very serious debate surrounding it.

more info on the points you raise...

Thank you for your comment about the graphic story. Our aim with 'Hope Beyond Hype' is to communicate the process of stem cell science from basic research to working therapy. As it was an introduction to this process we wanted to make sure we included as many of the stakeholders and factors surrounding the process as possible. This meant that many issues were only touched on. We recognise the importance of more indepth discussions about these, though, and the soon to be launched online, interactive version will allow the reader to explore the elements in this way.

In the meantime, do take a look at our Fact sheet on the ethical issues surrounding embryonic stem cell research, which discusses the points you raise in more detail.

Thank you (from a stem cell scientist!)

I just wanted to say a quick thank you for producing this comic. I am a PhD student in the field of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, so i know how hard myself and others are working but it's good to know others do to! From a scientist's viewpoint I can say that this comic is very good at explaining the complex and often frustrating work that we do to a broader audience. Thank you again.

Thanks for your comment

Thank you for your comment about the graphic story.  It is good to know that you felt it represented your experience.  We worked with some of the OptiStem researchers to develop the storylines, so it was based on real-life experiences!  If you would like to use the comic as part of your own public engagement activities, just get in touch with us.