While blood stem cells have been used clinically for over 40 years, it was the discovery of human embryonic stem cells in 1998, that has built expectations for people affected by a multitude of degenerative, chronic and fatal diseases with no cures or effective treatments. The speed with which therapies were expected to roll out of the lab did not take into consideration the complete lack of infrastructure required to make it happen, for many turning potential into frustration.
On November 11th and 12th, stem cell scientists, clinicians and social scientists from around the world gathered at the University of Sussex to discuss and debate current practices around stem cell research and therapy in an international conference organised by the Centre for Bionetworking, Department of Anthropology. Specifically, delegates sought to answer the central question of the conference: What is there between bona fide and rogue stem cell therapy?
PhD student Sara Schmidt, a researcher in the diabetes focused consortium HumEN, last week ventured away from the lab into a local High School to experience for the first time a taste of public engagement... here is how she got on.
With the drive for excellence in public engagement gaining momentum in the UK over the last 5 years, the UK Research Councils have teamed up to launch the Excellence with Impact competition.
My degree project saw me in 2014 completing an evaluation of Hope Beyond Hype, the stem cell science comic created by EuroCtemCell. It aims to provide a clear communication from scientists to the public about the realities of stem cell science, but does it achieve this aim?
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have discovered a method to “reset” human embryonic stem cells to an earlier developmental stage, producing a type of stem cell up to now only seen in rodents.
EuroStemCell would like to offer its warm congratulations to Dr Masayo Takahashi, winner of the Stem Cell Person of the Year 2014. This international award is facilitated and funded by Professor Paul Knoepfler, in recognition of people who are transformative in the stem cell field for the benefit of others.
Elena Cattaneo reports on recent research that examines how a particular type of cell develops in the human brain, and how studies like this fit into the overall picture of research collaboration and funding, in Italy and in Europe.
It took 4 years of continuous experiments of 17 researchers from 6 groups in 2 European countries to understand more about how cells develop in the striatum. The striatum is the area of the brain that degenerates in Huntington’s disease (HD) – a neurological disorder that as of today, has no cure. This work, led by my group at the University of Milan, was published in Nature Neuroscience on 10 Nov 2014.
In conjunction with Ireland’s Science Week, Debating Science Issues (DSI) is being launched with an upper secondary school workshop series. The schools’ science programme, now in its eighth year, invites young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science.
Although the workshop phase of DSI is under way, several partners are still recruiting schools. The pre-competition workshops provide an open and impartial environment and challenge the students to consider the ethical impacts of contemporary research. After the school workshop, students work with their team and under their teacher’s supervision to prepare for a debate competition involving more than 36 schools across Ireland to determine the 2015 All-Ireland winners. Debate adjudicators represent various stakeholders including science, communications/ journalism, religion, medicine, ethics, patients, and interested publics.