EuroStemCell newsletter: autumn 2011

Welcome to our second newsletter

Hi! The year is flying by and here we are with our second quarterly newsletter already. We've got lots of news to share - from stem cell patents to clinical trials updates, a new guest blogger, factsheets, educational tools and more.  For more regular updates, you can also follow us on Twitter, check out our Facebook page or subscribe to our RSS feeds.  And if you haven't visited the site for a while, do take a look and get in touch with your feedback and ideas.

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European Court bans stem cell patents

The European Court of Justice has today announced a landmark decision banning patenting of inventions based on embryonic stem cells. Scientists are concerned that the verdict, which is legally binding for all EU states, will drive development of stem cell therapies outside Europe.

Read more about the case and post your comments




Behind the Bench: A series about researchers and their rituals

A new series of blogs providing an insider’s perspective on stem cell research and the people involved in it. Written by Anestis Tsakiridis, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh. In this first blog: meet Anestis and find out what he'll be writing about in the coming weeks.

Read Anestis' first blog



Clinical trials news and information


We've launched a new clinical trials section on our site, designed to bring together news, frequently asked questions and valuable sources of further information on clinical research in stem cells and regenerative medicine.

Before new treatments can reach patients, they must be tested in clinical trials. The first in our series of clinical trials updates describes some stem-cell-related trials currently under way or recently approved.  

What's covered in the September update?

We’ve focused on trials using embryonic stem cells or taking place in Europe, and cover spinal cord injuryStargardt's macular dystrophyage-related macular degeneration and stroke.  We’ll post more updates on other themes in future, so tell us if there’s an area you really want to know about. Read more about clinical trials


Stem cells and disease research: challenges for iPS cells

The discovery that adult cells could be ‘reprogrammed’ and converted into stem cells caused a great deal of excitement among scientists. There are high hopes that this new technology will help us study, understand and eventually treat disease. But researchers still face a number of challenges, as shown by several recent studies and described by Edinburgh researcher Tilo Kunath in a commentary article for EuroStemCell.

Read more about iPS cells and disease research



Workshop on stem cell therapy for neurological diseases, on Twitter

Andrew Smith spent two days tweeting on our Twitter page @euro_dayinsci to share the discussions at a recent NeuroStemcell workshop on Stem cell therapy for neurological diseases: translation to the clinic.  Even if you're not on Twitter it's worth checking out his updates for an overview of the interesting discussions between scientists, ethicists and others at the workshop - some fascinating topics!

Visit @euro_dayinsci to read Andrew's tweets. And let us know if we should be doing more of this kind of thing (tweeting from meetings) - is it useful? Interesting? Do you want to have a go too?



Stem cell fact sheets

Our fact sheets are short summaries to help non scientists quickly get the facts about stem cells and regenerative medicine. All fact sheets are reviewed by senior scientists.  We encourage you to take a look at the whole collection (10 published so far), but here's one of our latest...

Regeneration: what does it mean and how does it work?

Some parts of our bodies can repair themselves quite well after injury, but others don’t repair at all. We certainly can’t regrow a whole leg or arm, but some animals CAN regrow – or regenerate – whole body parts. So what can we learn from these regenerative animals?

Read more about regeneration


Research updates from EU-funded stem cell projects

Our research updates keep you informed about progress in public-funded European stem cell research. Here's a recent example from our partner, EuroSyStem:

Pioneering stem cell science using biological and computational expertise

EuroSyStem began by bringing together leading stem cell scientists from eight European countries. Their aim was to further understand stem cell science by combining both biological and computational techniques. Understanding how stem cells work means that their potential for treating disease can be fully realized in the future. EuroSyStem has made significant progress in each of its scientific areas. It has also established a network of stem cell scientists, now spanning 17 countries and 61 research groups, and has provided quality training and collaborative research opportunities. Read more about EuroSyStem


Stem cell toolkit - new role play added to our kit

We're working hard on expanding the EuroStemCell toolkit - downloadable stem cell activities and resources for a variety of audiences and settings - and lots of tools are already available on our Toolkit page. Here's one of our latest additions...

Ready or not? A role play on taking stem cells into the clinic

A role play exploring the issues around taking stem cells to the clinic. The scenario is an open public hearing of a research ethics committee, to decide on granting a licence for a clinical trial using human embryonic stem cells to treat spinal cord injuries. Participants roleplay members of the committee and different stakeholders in the audience, and in doing so engage in debates on the scientific and social issues surrounding stem cell research.

Read more about the role play


Stem cell resources: some recent additions to our directory