stem cells in their environment
Stem Cells: from Bench to Bedside
21 November 2013
By Gernot Walko
This recent public King's College London event (12/11/2013), hosted by the Centre of Human & Aerospace Physiological Sciences together with the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, tried to address questions related to the potential of stem cells, the safety of treatment involving stem cells and their availability in the UK.
A short film featuring Professor Austin Smith, Director of the Wellcome Trust / MRC Stem Cell Institute, introduced the concept of stem cells to the audience.
This was followed by a talk from Dr. Andrew Smith (Centre of Human & Aerospace Physiological Sciences), who showed experimental evidence that regular, intensity-controlled exercise training of adult rats can lead to activation of endogenous cardiac stem / progenitor cells, which might open new possibilities to repair the heart after damage.
Dr. Davide Danovi, director of the KCL-based cell phenotyping programme of the Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Initiative, introduced the concept of stem cell pluripotency and talked about induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) and their potential to treat human diseases by cell therapy and disease modelling.
Professor Johan Hylner, Chief Scientific Officer of the UK Cell Therapy Catapult, talked about stem cell-based pre-clinical and clinical trials currently underway in the UK and highlighted the barriers that scientists face when translating their research to the clinics.
The event ended with a presentation by Prof. Sian Harding (National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London) about cell therapy of heart failure, in which she highlighted the pros and cons inherent in applying different types of stem cells (bone marrow stem cells, embryonic stem cells, and induced pluripotent stem cells) for treatment of heart diseases.
All in all, it was an interesting outreach event that also attracted a large non-specialist audience.