Chances and challenges of stem cell research:
two-day conference in Düsseldorf
On May 13&14, 2019, the Stem Cell Network NRW hosted an interdisciplinary conference at the "Museum Kunstpalast" in Düsseldorf. The occasion was the newly permanent funding of the network by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia. The meeting was marked by close collaboration between biomedical research and the humanities, legal and social sciences.
A core theme of the conference was the transfer of scientific findings from the laboratory to the patient. Which approaches to treat diseases with stem cells are already available? What hurdles need to be overcome? A total of 270 participants from more than 30 different nations discussed these and many other questions during the two-day conference in Düsseldorf. The Kick-off Meeting brought together renowned stem cell scientists from the fields of biomedicine, ethics, law and social sciences, who presented their research on the opportunities and challenges of stem cell research.
The opening speaker was Professor Rick Livesey of University College London, who uses human stem cell models to generate new insights into Alzheimer's disease. Legal scholar Professor Jochen Taupitz (University of Mannheim) addressed a topic that has been the subject of intense worldwide debate since the end of last year: In his lecture on genome editing, he outlined which interventions in the human genome are currently allowed and pointed to needs for revision of the German Embryo Protection Act.
In addition to talks from several companies, there were also numerous contributions from the member institutions of the Stem Cell Network NRW: "Stem cell research in North Rhine-Westphalia offers diverse, promising approaches in view of the major health challenges, some of which are already being tested in clinical trials", emphasized Professor Oliver Brüstle, chairman of the Stem Cell Network NRW.