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09 August 2008
A lecturer from the Welsh School of Pharmacy has delivered the Eisteddfod’s most prestigious science lecture.
Dr Arwyn Tomos Jones, senior lecturer in Molecular Cell Biology, told an audience that stem cell research is crucial to the potential discovery of cures for some of the country’s most devastating illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, as well as help understand conditions such as infertility.
He discussed some of the fascinating secrets of cells in general, and stem cells in particular, and the huge ethical questions that have been raised in the wake of new developments in stem cell research, in particular the status given to an embryo consisting of only a few cells.
Supported by the Wellcome Trust, Dr Jones said that the ethical concerns around the use of embryonic stem cells are outweighed by the research’s potential benefits. Also that some of these concerns may now diminish with the development of adult stem cell technology, which could be alternatives to having to use embryonic stem cells for these procedures.
"This kind of research is needed if we are to move the technology forward to deal with other conditions." Dr Jones explains. "I want people to understand more fully what is taking place and to dispel some of their fears."
As part of the lecture, he also discussed the contribution of Professor Sir Martin Evans to this field of research and how it won him the Nobel Prize for Medicine 2007.
Dr Arwyn Tomos Jones was awarded a Wellcome Trust People Award grant to organise a stem cell exhibit and science activities at this years National Eisteddfod.
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