June 25, 2005
U, Belgium Form Stem Cell Partnership
Last Thursday, June 18, 2005, the University of Minnesota and the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium signed a ceremonial agreement to develop joint and collaborating stem cell institutes. The Minnesota Daily article briefly mentioned the general direction of stem cell research, which "will change the whole field of medicine because we're moving to regenerative medicine instead of transplanting new organs." Dr. Marc Boogaerts, vice dean of clinical affairs at the Universtiy of Leuven, commented on the collaboration of the two universities that "exchange of information is of the utmost importance in present day medicine...By talking to people you will gain time, without a doubt."
The group discussion concluded the article with a main concern, what is stem cell research? While this "medical" advancement comes under lots of media attention, how much do we know about it? We wondered if the term "stem cell" inclusively means all studies from to DNA mapping to human cloning.
We're at a point with stem cell research that it can only go forward. The scientific community will not stop pursuing this potentially life saving technology. The focus at this point will hopefully be to proceed with caution.
The concept of regenerative medicine certainly seems far less barbaric than some of the medical practices of yesterday and today. Stem cell research is a topic I'd like to learn more about, and I think it's exciting to see where it may take us in the future.
Posted by: Patti at June 26, 2005 10:17 AM
I agree with patti. Stem cell research shows so much potential, more than just about any other research at the moment. We do however,need to proceed with a significant amount of caution while pursuing stem cell research. What needs to happen for stem cell research to gain support is wide spread education. I did not know until recently that there were several different types of stem cell research. I believe that many others do not know that there are different types of stem cell research as well. So as far as I see, the first step that needs to be taken is to educate the public so that stem cell research can gain public support. With that funding will be much more easily gained and any backlash from the reseach significantly reduced.
Posted by: Shannon at June 26, 2005 1:00 PM
It makes perfect sense that there would be several types of stem cell research, but nevertheless I didn't know about them before your comment, Shannon, so thanks. I did some research online, and there's a serious dearth of good, unbiased information about stem cells, the fact that adults also have stem cells in their tissues that are used, and the categories of stem cell research, etc. Most of the sources I saw were heavily biased in one direction or the other. The one exception was Stem Cell Basics, a guide published by the National Institutes of Health (not that I think it's completely free of bias, as if anything could ever be).
Posted by: Clancy at June 26, 2005 2:41 PM
I think its great that our school has partnered up with the University of Leuven, Belgium. Stem cells are the building blocks of every part of our bodies and stem cell research holds far too much potential to let it go to waste. It is unfortunate that our president doesn’t feel the same. However, with this partnership the U of M and University of Leuven will have the opportunity to progress the research farther.
Posted by: Chuck at June 26, 2005 5:20 PM
Here's the link to the Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota:
You can read more about stem cells by clicking on "Stem Cell 101". There are also Fact Sheets about the following diseases: diabetes, heart, liver, and Parkinson's.
Posted by: Debbie at June 27, 2005 4:34 PM