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‘Click here to find out more’: exploiting the promise of stem cell therapies

06:00 PM - Thursday 17 October, 2019
‘Click here to find out more’: exploiting the promise of stem cell therapies.

This public event is proudly hosted by the Convergence Science Network and is held in the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity Auditorium.

For many, stem cell science and regenerative medicine are synonymous with hope for a future free of suffering. While progress is being made, we remain at the very early stages of clinical research with few proven stem cell treatments currently available. However, over the last decade commercial stem cell clinics in Australia and abroad have used online marketing to build an industry offering to treat patients now, despite a lack of evidence to justify such practices.

In an effort to curb these exploitative practices, the Australian Government has recently announced a ban on advertising of unproven cell therapies and increased regulatory role for the Therapeutic Goods Administration. This presentation will examine the role of regulation and professional standards in providing better safeguards for consumers and the challenge of implementing these changes in the context of high community hopes, conflicting information and scientific uncertainties.

Associate Professor Megan Munsie is an internationally recognised stem cell biologist who has made a significant contribution to policy development and community engagement at a domestic and global level. Her work demonstrates the importance of interdisciplinary scholarship and empirical research to address key ethical, regulatory and societal issues raised by stem cell research and regenerative medicine. She is Deputy Director of the Centre for Stem Cell Systems at The University of Melbourne and Head of the Engagement, Ethics and Policy Program at Stem Cells Australia, a special research initiative funded by the Australian Research Council.

Dr Christine Walker is an experienced qualitative social researcher who works to develop a better understanding of the needs of people with chronic illnesses in both health policies and health services. As CEO of the Chronic Illness Alliance Christine works to include the voices of people with chronic illnesses in all its work with the broader consumer health movement. She believes that when consumers, their families and carers are included in the development of health policies and health services that the health system will truly improve the health of all Australians in a sustainable manner.Find out more about the Convergence Science Network.