For a successful translation process, the Stem Cell Network NRW relies on a close dialog between basic research and therapeutic applications.This process is accompanied by thematically relevant research activities in the fields of ethics, law, and social sciences.
Many challenges and gaps, called translation gaps, have to be overcome during the translation process. Translational approaches must be constantly adapted to new findings from basic research and optimized accordingly. As a field that is still young in many regards, stem cell research has so far concentrated mainly on basic scientific concerns. The ever-increasing standardization of new methods and procedures has contributed to the fact that areas such as stem cell-mediated disease and drug research and cell therapy are now making their transition into application.
Overcoming scientific, biotechnological, ethical, legal, social scientific, and regulatory obstacles in the course of translation is an important prerequisite for implementing the goals pursued with stem cell research. It is important to promote early career researchers, in particular, and generate their interest in translational research projects. Knowledge that is essentialfor the translation process, e.g. on standardization and quality management, should be taught and corresponding qualification measures will be offered in the future. What’s more, existing interactions with biotech and pharmaceutical companies and hospitals will be intensified and supplemented by new partners. Finally, it is also a matter of establishing a fruitful dialog between research and regulators. This should ensure that the field of research remains sensitive to normative debates and social sensitivities.
Research will play an even greater role in public debate in the future in order to facilitate the transfer of findings from stem cell research to the benefit of society as a whole and patients in particular. Biomedical researchers, together with scientists from the fields of ethics, law, and social sciences and the social actors represented on the advisory board, will develop a strategy for a transdisciplinary science with societal feedback.