European Science Foundation aims to strengthen 'regenerative medicine'

June 19, 2008

14 Member Organisations of the European Science Foundation have launched a key initiative to keep Europe at the forefront of regenerative medicine; broadly defined as the development of stem cell therapies to restore lost, damaged, or ageing cells and tissues in the human body.

Stem cells are the body's 'master cells' that have not yet been programmed to perform a specific function. Most tissues have their own supply of stem cells, and it is becoming clear that if these cells can be given the appropriate biochemical instructions, they can 'differentiate' into new tissue. In this way, for example, stem cells could be seeded into damaged heart muscle to repair it.

Regenerative medicine has many advantages over more conventional ways of repairing or replacing damaged tissues or organs. Because the stem cells are taken from the person being treated, there are no problems with the body's immune system recognising the cells as 'foreign' and attempting to reject them, something that is still a problem with organ transplantation, for example.

To help ensure that Europe retains its competitive edge in the field, the ESF has launched REMEDIC, a research networking programme in regenerative medicine (13 May 2008). For the next five years a steering committee of 13 of Europe's leading specialists in regenerative medicine will organise a series of meetings and workshops to bring together experts to share ideas and develop new collaborations.

"I think this network will be very important to allow scientists in the field to share and disseminate information," says Professor Yrjö Konttinen, of Biomedicum Helsinki in Finland, who chairs the steering committee. "The network is open, so we will be in contact with many different organisations with an interest in the field. We want to meet people, establish joint collaborations with existing programmes and we will also be seeking funding for new initiatives."

REMEDIC will concentrate on the potential of a particular type of cell in the body called mesenchymal stromal cells. These can be obtained from fat tissue and coaxed to differentiate into a range of cell types, including bone, cartilage and muscle. Once the cells are in the relevant tissue, their growth and proliferation can be protected by biomaterials, which are structures implanted into the body that can guide the growth of the new tissue.

REMEDIC's first workshop is planned for mid-August in Helsinki, and a call for short term and exchange visits will be launched in late 2008. REMEDIC is a Research Networking Programme managed by the European Medical Research Councils (EMRC) at the European Science Foundation.

Source: European Science Foundation

Explore further: A snapshot of stem cell expression

Related Stories

A snapshot of stem cell expression

October 1, 2015

Researchers on the Wellcome Genome Campus reveal new genes involved in stem cell pluripotency, new subpopulations of cells and new methods to find meaning in the data. Published in Cell Stem Cell, the findings have implications ...

Lightbulb using graphene is to go on sale this year

March 30, 2015

The BBC reported on Saturday that a graphene bulb is set for shops, to go on sale this year. UK developers said their graphene bulb will be the first commercially viable consumer product using the super-strong carbon; bulb ...

EU court clears stem cell patenting

December 18, 2014

A human egg used to produce stem cells but unable to develop into a viable embryo can be patented, the European Court of Justice ruled on Thursday.

Vaccines from a reactor

March 2, 2015

In the event of an impending global flu pandemic, vaccine production could quickly reach its limits, as flu vaccines are still largely produced in embryonated chicken eggs. Udo Reichl, Director at the Max Planck Institute ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.