CHICAGO (April 20, 2015) — The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has launched an expanded “Closer Look at Stem Cells” website (www.closerlookatstemcells.org), an online resource to help patients and their families make informed decisions about stem cell treatments, clinics and their health.
The ISSCR, a global membership-based organization comprised of approximately 4,000 stem cell researchers, clinicians and ethicists, is concerned that stem cell treatments are being marketed by clinics around the world without appropriate oversight and patient protections in place to ensure safety and likely benefit. New resources on the website emphasize key scientific principles and practices that will help the public to better evaluate treatment claims.
“The ‘Closer Look at Stem Cells’ website is a direct channel from researchers to the public,” said Megan Munsie, a scientist with Stem Cells Australia and chairperson of the ISSCR task force responsible for the website expansion. “Promising clinical trials are underway for many diseases and conditions, but most stem cell-based treatments are still in the future. We hope that the website will foster interest and excitement in the science, but also an understanding of the current limitations of stem cells as medicine and a healthy skepticism of clinics selling treatments.”
The website, once patient focused, is now a comprehensive destination for those interested in stem cell science and research being conducted across the globe. It includes informational pages 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. Pages on other conditions will be added in the coming months. It is also home to the “Stem Cells in Focus” blog, which seeks to make cutting-edge research from the stem cell field accessible to non-scientists.
“I am often contacted by patients struggling with very difficult decisions about their health, and who want to know more about the potential of stem cells,” said Larry Goldstein, a stem cell scientist at the University of California, San Diego and a member of the ISSCR task force responsible for the website expansion. “My experience is that understanding the current state of stem cell science and medicine is key to making informed decisions about stem cell treatments, and so I encourage patients to start their journey on the ‘Closer Look at Stem Cells’ website.”
About the International Society for Stem Cell Research (www.isscr.org)
The International Society for Stem Cell Research is an independent, nonprofit membership organization 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.