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Public discussion of stem cell research in Dundee

16 February 2007

What? Public discussion event with leading ethicists and scientists
When? Tuesday 20 February 2007, 5.45-7.00pm
Where? Sensation Dundee, Greenmarket, Dundee, DD1 4QB

The public has the chance to meet leading stem cell scientists, ethicists and legal experts in Dundee next week (20 February) to discuss stem cell research and the ethical and social issues around it.

Scientists believe that understanding the biology of stem cells will enable them to develop therapies for currently incurable diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Stem cell science raises significant ethical questions and there are real challenges in ensuring public expectations are in line with scientific reality. To give everyone a chance to discuss these issues the UK’s main public funder of fundamental life science research, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), is holding a discussion event where the public can meet leading stem cell scientists, ethicists and other experts to discuss the future direction of stem cell science and the surrounding ethical and social issues.

Participation in the discussion is free and refreshments will be served. Tickets are available by contacting BBSRC, Tel: 01793 413345, e-mail: external.relations@bbsrc.ac.uk

Confirmed speakers at the discussion include Dr Marios Stavridis from the University of Dundee talking about current applications of stem cell science, Dr Neville Cobbe from the Scottish Council for Human Bioethics discussing ethical issues and Professor Graeme Laurie from the University of Edinburgh talking about legislation for this controversial area of science.

Dr Stavridis, speaking ahead of the event, said: "Stem cell research is an exciting field expected to lead to significant medical breakthroughs for some yet incurable diseases, raising thousands of patients’ hopes. Exhibitions like the one at Sensation this month help to communicate the facts of stem cell research to a broader audience. However, ethical and social issues surrounding many aspects of stem cells require face to face discussions between the public and scientists doing the research. I am looking forward to this open event which allows anyone to discuss stem cell research with experts in the field and with major public funders of science."

BBSRC and the Medical Research Council are also leading a Research Councils UK public exhibition alongside the discussion event. The exhibition, Stem Cell Science – Hope not Hype, is at Sensation Dundee throughout February during normal opening hours. The exhibit describes how research is progressing, and how the Research Councils are listening and responding to public attitudes and opinion in this area of science.

ENDS

Notes to editors

Stem Cell Science – Hope not Hype is a Research Councils UK public exhibition led by BBSRC and the Medical Research Council.

For further information about Sensation Dundee please see: http://www.sensation.org.uk

About BBSRC

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £380 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

Contact

Patrick Middleton, Head of Engagement

tel: 01793 413368

Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299
fax: 01793 413382

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382