The Scottish Stem Cell Network (SSCN) is holding a special public meeting in St Andrews next week (Wednesday, December 3) to debate the research and future use of stem cells as potential treatments for major diseases and injuries.
Already, there has been an excellent response with over 85 people, including local school pupils, signing up to attend the event that is being co-hosted by the University of St Andrews.
The SSCN, which brings together scientists, academics, clinicians and businesses to help in the advance of stem cell biology towards new treatments for degenerative diseases, is constantly working to inform public debate.
At this event, members of the public will be able to hear the views of a panel of experts including scientists, clinicians, commercial parties and patients. Importantly, they will then have plenty of time to put their own questions to the panel.
“We want the public to hear what the experts have to say, then ask questions and take part in the discussions,” said SSCN executive director, Dr Marilyn Robertson.
“It is one of our key objectives to engage with the public as clearly and as fully as possible while Scotland’s established centres of excellence in stem cell technology make progress with research that, hopefully, will lead to clinical reality.
“While Scotland is at the forefront of ground-breaking advances in stem cell technology, we fully understand that ethical and technical issues can create public distrust, misconceptions and misguided expectations that constantly need to be addressed.
“We have held similar meetings elsewhere in Scotland and are delighted to be involved with the University of St Andrews for this one.
“Our panels of experts include many who are striving to improve the rate at which laboratory research translates into therapeutic benefits for patients affected by such devastating conditions as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, stroke, multiple sclerosis and sight loss.
“Events like this play an important role in the SSCN effort to inform and involve the public at large. Those with an interest in stem cell research will have an opportunity to discuss and voice their opinion on how it should advance.”
Professor Alyson Tobin, Dean of Science at the University of St Andrews,