Getting reliable information about stem cell research can be a challenge for anyone seeking a solution to troubling health problems, or even those simply interested in learning more about this exciting new area of medical research.
To help patients, their families and the broader community better understand stem cell science and how to evaluate experimental treatments, The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has expanded their ‘Closer Look at Stem Cells’ website (www.closerlookatstemcells.org).
The website is a comprehensive destination for those interested in stem cell science and research being conducted across the globe. It includes information on basic stem cell biology, the process by which science becomes medicine, clinical trials and the use of stem cells in understanding specific health conditions - macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and diabetes - with more to be added in coming months. The ‘Closer Look at Stem Cells’ website is also home to the ‘Stem Cells in Focus’ blog which brings cutting-edge research from the stem cell field to non-scientists.
In particular, this website has been designed to help patients and their families make informed decisions about stem cell treatments, clinics and their health.
Although stem cell science holds tremendous promise for understanding and treating many diseases and complex conditions, most stem cell-based treatments are still in the future. Despite this, a growing number clinics around the world are already selling stem cells treatments. They are not first waiting to see if a possible treatment is proven to be and effective in clinical trials.
The ‘Closer Look at Stem Cells’ website encourages the reader to learn more about the science that underlies a given treatment and has some helpful tips on what to ask providers, as well as more about the principles and practices that should be followed when taking stem cell research from the laboratory to the clinic.
The International Society for Stem Cell Research is an independent, nonprofit organization with approximately 4,000 members - researchers, clinicians and ethicists - and was established to promote and foster the exchange and dissemination of information and ideas relating to stem cells, to encourage the general field of research involving stem cells and to promote professional and public education in all areas of stem cell research and application.
Stem Cells Australia’s Associate Professor Megan Munsie is the chairperson of the ISSCR task force responsible for the website expansion.