A public exhibition to help explain the science around stem cells is to tour the country
The exhibition not only explains how understanding the biology of stem cells offers hope to sufferers of some currently incurable diseases. It also presents the challenges for both policy makers and scientists in balancing public expectation with scientific reality.
Speakers at the event include Lord Patel, who chairs the Stem Cell Steering Committee, Andy Burnham and two leading scientists in stem cell research, Professor Sian Harding and Professor Tariq Enver.
Professor Harding, Professor of Cardiac Pharmacology at the National Heart and Lung Institute, will explain the advances that have been made in the development of embryonic stem cells to generate cardiomyocytes. Both human and mouse lines successfully produce beating heart cells. Contraction of these cardiomyocytes is measured by methods adapted from those used for the adult cells. You can view the beating cells online here.
Professor Tariq Enver from the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit at Oxford will describe his work trying to understand the molecular events associated with the self-renewal and unilineage commitment of haematopoietic (blood) stem cells and what goes wrong in leukaemia.
The exhibition has been developed by BBSRC and MRC as part of the research councils’ response to the Pattison report recommendation for a “sustained and coordinated programme of public dialogue on stem cell research over the next decade.”