Thursday, 22 September 2011 21:27

InVitroJobs participates in WiLaBonn Science Café Featured

The “Wissenschaftsladen Bonn” (“Science Shop Bonn”), or WiLaBonn for short, is hosting a regular science café with the goal of presenting scientific findings in such a way that the general public can appreciate them. At the café, visitors can mingle with scientists and science journalists in a relaxed atmosphere. Dr. Christiane Hohensee was also invited to take part on 22 September and to answer the questions of 11th and 12th class pupils regarding the possible uses of stem cell research as an alternative to animal experiments.

Further participants at the information session in the Europe School in Bornheim were scientists from the company Life & Brain (fundamental research), Dr. Manal Hadenfeld and Dipl.-Biol. Simone Haupt, Dr. Ralf Kettenhofen from Axiogenesis (applied research), Martin Heyer from the Institute for Science and Ethics (IWE), University of Bonn, and Michael Lange, scientific journalist (e.g. German public radio station Deutschlandfunk).

Working group formation with pupils of the 11th and 12th class of the European School Bonn.
Left (standing): Dr. med. Stefanie Schmid-Altringer scientific journalist, right: Dr. Christiane Hohensee from InVitroJobs.

The pupils were especially interested in ethical questions. They pointed out a discrepancy in current German law, with abortion on demand being nominally illegal but effectively not subject to prosecution before the end of the third month of pregnancy providing there has been a counselling session and a consideration period of three days prior to termination, whereas the German Stem Cell Act bans the creation of embryonic stem cells, yet allows their importation and utilisation from abroad under certain conditions.

Actively participation by pupils of the European School Bonn.

There were also those who wished that the breeding and use of animals for xenotransplantation be replaced by stem cell cultures or artificial organs. The pupils were informed that these new innovative methods, especially research on ethically acceptable adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells must be intensified in order to replace animal step by step with new methods. In addition, the positive results of tests such as the EST assay (an in vitro test validated in Europe, using permanent embryonic stem cell lines of mice) in the field of reproductive toxicology were explained.

At present, stem cell research still has many unsolved problems, whether the question of higher yields or the problem of malignant cell growth.

This matches the conclusion of a recent conference of prestigious stem cell researchers at the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin-Buch from 11 to 14 September. The artificial production of pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) has tremendously boosted biomedical research, but despite the progress made in recent years, there is still a long way to go before such reprogrammed stem cells can actually be put to therapeutic use.

Further information on the science café at WiLaBonn:
Information on the stem cell conference at the Max Delbrück Center:,did=130158.html