First public forum addresses current state of stem cell research

The authors of three recent books on the current state of stem cell research participated in a lively moderated discussion at HSCI’s first event for members of the public in December. According to HSCI Executive Director Brock C. Reeve, this was the first of many such events that HSCI will host to educate and inform the general community about important scientific, ethical, and legislative issues relating to stem cell research.

The panel, moderated by Willy Lensch, PhD, of HSCI and Children’s Hospital Boston, featured Michael Bellomo, author of The Stem Cell Divide; Eve Herold, author of Stem Cell Wars; and Christopher Thomas Scott, author of Stem Cell Now.

All of the authors said they wrote their books to educate the public about an important topic they feel is not always well-understood.

For example, they pointed out the public confusion over reproductive cloning, which has been widely condemned by scientists as unethical, and therapeutic cloning, which involves the creation of disease-specific stem cell lines that can be used to better understand and perhaps find treatments for a range of incurable diseases.

Other topics of discussion centered on the ramifications of the passage of California’s Proposition 71, which earmarked $3 billion for stem cell research in the state; the chilling effect the lack of federal funding for stem cell research is having on young researchers’ career choices; and the shifting political landscape and its impact on stem cell research.