Over the past few decades, stem cell research has produced major breakthroughs. Thanks to stem cell research, we are now more familiar with the early stages of human development, and laboratories are able to transform stem cells into different types of cells and mini-organs. We also know the causes of many diseases that were previously poorly understood. And for some diseases, stem cell research has already led to therapies.
Now anyone can search for information on stem cells in a new Stem Cell Portal.
“University of Helsinki researchers from the Academy of Finland-funded Centre of Excellence in Stem Cell Metabolism (MetaStem) created the portal to offer the public reliable information on various stem cells and related research and therapies, and to help readers find other websites providing research-based knowledge,” explains Emilia Kuuluvainen, one of the people behind the portal.
The Stem Cell Portal is aimed at members of the public interested in the topic as well as students, teachers and the media. The Finnish-language portal will be translated into Swedish in spring 2021 and later also into English.
“Stem cells are often in the news because of their great medical potential, but there is also a lot of misleading reporting about stem cells and, in particular, stem cell therapies. Accurate information is poorly available in Finnish and Swedish. The new portal will tap into this need,” says Pekka Katajisto, director of MetaStem.
“In addition, stem cell tourism has become a problem, with patients being charged large sums for ineffective therapies that may even be dangerous. Stem cell research is a young field, which is why therapies based on it are still under development,” notes Professor Timo Otonkoski.
What questions does the Stem Cell Portal answer?
- What is a stem cell?
- What is the difference between embryonic and adult stem cells?
- Are all stem cells alike?
- Why do we need stem cell research?
- What diseases can be treated with stem cell therapies that have been proven effective?
- What diseases will likely be treated with stem cell therapies in the near future?
In addition, anyone can ask the researchers about stem cells:
- A form is available for this purpose at the bottom of the FAQ page.
- The Stem Cell Portal team of researchers aims to answer the questions either in person or on the FAQ page.
The portal will be updated as and when new research is published. In the future, the portal will also report on breakthroughs in stem cell research in a news section.
The Stem Cell Portal team:
- Emilia Kuuluvainen (PhD, research coordinator of the Centre of Excellence in Stem Cell Metabolism, UH)
- Pekka Katajisto (PhD, associate professor, HiLIFE, UH, director of the Centre of Excellence in Stem Cell Metabolism)
- Timo Otonkoski (MD, PhD, professor, director of the Stem Cells and Metabolism research programme (STEMM), UH, New Children’s Hospital, HUS)
- Kirmo Wartiovaara (MD, PhD, docent of stem cell biology, UH, clinical geneticist, HUS)
- Henna Tyynismaa (PhD, associate professor, director of the Research Programs Unit, Faculty of Medicine, UH)
- Ville Hietakangas (PhD, professor, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Institute of Biotechnology, UH)
The Stem Cell Portal has received support from the Centre of Excellence in Stem Cell Metabolism (MetaStem), the University of Helsinki, the Academy of Finland and the Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE).
Emilia Kuuluvainen, research coordinator, University of Helsinki
Portal email: stemcell-portal[at]helsinki.fi