Panel discussion on stem cell research puts patients centre stage
There is still a huge gap between patients’ expectations of the prospects for stem cell medicine, and the scientific understanding of current and potential future treatments, a University of Sussex event in South Korea has revealed.
A public panel discussion event on Monday (2 June), organised by the Centre for Bionetworking (based in the School of Global Studies and SPRU), focused on ways to tackle this gap between patients’ expectations and scientific progress on stem cell therapies.
The event in the Avison Biomedical Research Center (based in Severance Hospital, one of the major university hospitals in Seoul), brought together 130 patients, stem cell researchers, medical professionals and industry personnel to talk about patient needs, discussing the potential usage of stem cell therapy in the future.
The panel consisted of patient representatives, stem cell researchers, a journalist and experts on policy and regulation.
Each panelist was invited to find ways, based on their expertise and experience, to address the question, ‘Is it possible to realise stem cell treatment “in the near future”?’
The panel discussion revealed that there is still a huge gap between patients’ expectations of current and future prospects for stem cell medicine, and the scientific understanding of what treatments are available at present, how effective they are, and what remedies may be anticipated in the future, given the scientific understanding of the discipline at present.
There was a consensus among scientists, policy makers and patients that a proper information channel is much needed to provide patients with impartial and balanced information about various symptoms, diseases and remedies.
Dr Choon Key Chekar, who organised the event as a representative of the Centre for Bionetworking, said: “This event was appreciated by local participants as a rare occasion where patients were brought centre stage in a public discussion on the development of stem cell research and remedies.
“I hope that patients will value their own knowledge and experience as precious and valuable, and that there will be more opportunities to share them with researchers and other experts.”
The event was organized in collaboration with the Global Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Acceleration Center, a five-year initiative funded by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in South Korea.
Professor Sora Park, Director of the Global Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Acceleration Center, proposed hosting a series of similar events on stem cell and regenerative medicine in the near future to cater for patients’ needs for specific information about their own diseases.
Source: University of Sussex Bulletin