Media Release: Family doctors issued with stem cell research information to help patients’ queries

SCOTLAND’S family doctors are being sent information on stem cell research and potential therapies to help them increase their knowledge and understanding of the issues involved.

The Scottish Stem Cell Network (SSCN) has been in touch with hundreds of GPs and is finalising a mail shot with up-to-date details of what is happening in Scotland.

As a result, the SSCN believes that doctors will be better placed to inform any patients seeking advice about possible treatments and where the research currently stands.

The SSCN, the not-for-profit organisation with funding from Scottish Enterprise, is working with the entire stem cell community to improve the rate at which laboratory research translates into therapeutic benefits for patients affected by such devastating conditions as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, stroke, multiple sclerosis and sight loss.

A key SSCN role is to engage with the public as clearly and as fully as possible as Scotland’s established centres of excellence in stem cell technology make progress with research that, hopefully, will lead to clinical reality in the fullness of time.

“Ethical and technical issues that can create public misunderstanding and inflated expectations constantly need to be addressed,” said Dr Marilyn Robertson, the SSCN’s executive director.

“That’s why we have undertaken to send information to family doctors as they are being asked a lot of questions from patients about when treatments will be available and how far down the line the research has gone.

“We hope to get away from hype and over-expectation but understandable urgency on the part of patients exists when they hear about the potential of stem cells as treatments for major diseases and injuries.

“That makes it vitally important that we make clear, straightforward and up to date information available to the public in general, on our website and through GP surgeries in this case.

“GPs have shown a great deal of interest and we hope this information will help them understand better such a complex subject, enabling them to explain things effectively to their patients.

“The recent vote in the House of Commons on stem cell research reflected the need to understand human stem cell biology and research how the power of stem cells can be harnessed to treat otherwise untreatable diseases.

“We are pleased that GPs in Scotland are taking such a keen interest.”


Note to editors:

The Scottish Stem Cell Network (SSCN) is the Edinburgh-based, not-for-profit organisation, with funding from Scottish Enterprise that brings together scientists, academics, clinicians and businesses to help in the advance of stem cell biology towards new treatments for degenerative diseases.

SSCN was launched in 2003 with support from Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian.

Issued on behalf of the Scottish Stem Cell Network (SSCN) by:

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