The European Science Foundation reports on the scientific and policy issues surrounding human stem cell research across Europe
A strategic report from the European Science Foundation examines the key scientific questions for human stem cell research in the context of the rapidly emerging field of regenerative medicine. In parallel to the potential new treatments for incurable diseases resulting from stem cell research, heated ethical and legal debates have arisen across the world. This report presents a comparative view of the legislative framework on human stem cell research across Europe and provides a selection of success stories in frontier research and clinical trials that underpin the advances achieved in Europe to date.
In recent years, international research on regenerative medicine and stem cells has yielded some promising results and even greater expectations in society. In this medical field, human embryonic stem cells could be applied in a variety of ways, for example to identify new compounds for drug development, or as cell-based therapies. The potential to use human stem cells to repair or replace tissue or organ functions lost through age, disease, damage or birth defects may raise ethical issues that must be considered integrally with any research. Europe is currently witnessing developments and debates that will impact regulation and public funding of stem cell research and innovation for years to come.