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March news: Unproven stem cell therapy in Italy and an upgraded stem cell toolkit

Posted by , on 28 March 2013

I’ve just sent out EuroStemCell’s monthly newsletter and thought I’d share a couple of the big items that might interest all of you.

It’s been another busy month, with lots of events ranging from schools activities to discussions with policy makers about changes to the EU Clinical Trials Directive. Plus, we’ve given our toolkit of educational and outreach resources a facelift to make it even easier to find the public engagement tool you need for your event.

In Italy stem cells have hit the headlines as the Italian Ministry of Health has overruled regulators to allow use of an unproven stem cell therapy in public hospitals. Stem cell researchers in Italy and beyond have expressed alarm about the decision. We explain the issues and share quotes from leading scientists in our news article.

You can read the full March newsletter on our website. Below a bit more on this month’s big items.

Scientists raise alarm as Italian Government rules on unproven stem cell therapy

An unproven stem cell therapy has taken centre stage in Italy after patients successfully lobbied the Italian government to allow its use in public hospitals. The highly controversial and untested procedure was created by the privately owned Stamina Foundation, but blocked by the Italian Medicine’s Agency, AIFA. Last week’s decision by the Ministry of Health to override AIFA’s block has horrified Italy’s leading stem cell scientists. In a letter to the Ministry, they describe the decision as providing “a dangerous short circuit between patients’ hopes and lucrative commercial practices” of organisations operating outside the “scientific and moral foundations” of medicine. Read more

Our stem cell toolkit has had a facelift!

Our toolkit of downloadable stem cell resources and activities has been growing so fast it’s getting hard to keep up with all the new additions. We launched with just five tools, but that number has since grown to 13 tools for teaching and talking about stem cells, in the classroom, science centre, open day, festival and other educational settings. We’ve had great feedback from teachers and others from around Europe: “[The] toolkit web page … is very easy to use. Everything appeals to me: not only the “surface”, icons and links, but also the contents are very useful and interesting.” Teacher, ItalyRead more

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