Comparison of Understanding for Stem Cell Research Between the Public and the Scientific Community

ABSTRACT

Owing to the rapid progress in stem cell research and regenerative medicine, society’s expectation and interest in these fields are increasing. For effective communication on these issues, surveys for understanding the interests of stakeholders is essential. For this purpose, Japanese Society for Regenerative Medicine (JSRM) conducted a large‐scale survey with 2,160 public responses and 1,115 responses from the member of the JSRM.

Results showed that the public is more interested in the post‐realization aspects of regenerative medicine, such as cost of care, countermeasures for risks and accidents, and clarification of responsibility and liability, than in the scientific aspects. The latter is of greater interest only to scientists. Our data indicate that an increased awareness about regenerative medicine‐associated social responsibility and regulatory framework is required among scientists, such as those regarding its benefits, potential accidents, abuse, and other social consequences. Awareness regarding the importance of communication and education for scientists are critical to bridge the gaps in the interests of the public and scientists

BRIEF QUERIES

Approximately 80% of the respondents were supportive of stem cell research. Two common questions were taken into consideration.

1. “How long it will take to achieve regenerative medicine with Stem Cells?”

  • “within 10 years” – public: 46.2%, JSRM: 53.7%
  • “within several years” –  public: 30.6%, JSRM: 9.7%
  • “within 20 years” –  public: 2.6%, JSRM: 5.22%
  • “within one year” –  public: 1.5%, JSRM: 0.6%

Overall, the expectation of the public is slightly shorter than those of the JSRM members. Despite the differences in opinion between JSRM members and the public, the current result shows that the majority of the public concur with the JSRM members. However, the differences in the imagination of JSRM members and the public are noteworthy. The differences in expectations within 10 years between JSRM members and the public emphasize this division 252 Differing Views on Stem Cell Research

2. “Which is a suitable expectation of the progress of regenerative medicine within 10 years”

  • “reduce pains and burdens” – public: 45.0%, JSRM: 50.5%
  • “replacement of sick organs” – public: 25.7% JSRM: 15.3%
  • “life-span extension.” – public: 18.5% JSRM: 7.5%
  • “not much change.” – public: 9.0% JSRM: 25.9%

These results indicate that the expectations triggered by the keyword “regenerative medicine” differed considerably between the public and the scientific community. This also suggests that trials are necessary to reduce these gaps.
Gaps in Focus Between the Scientific Community and the Public Over 70% of the public expressed that they wished to know more about “risk” and “anticipated new medical care.” These topics were also of high interest to JSRM members.

Additionally, approximately 60% of the public were interested about the “cost of care.” “Measures for safety” and “responses to medical accidents” were also highly marked (52.6% and 47.3%).

CONCLUSION

As society’s interest in regenerative medicine is increasing, further efforts are required to bridge the difference in knowledge. In contrast, JSRM members’ lack of understanding of the public’s social interests regarding regenerative medicine would generate issues such as communication bias and misunderstanding. Notably, a proportion of the JSRM members’ lacked knowledge regarding the social and regulatory aspects. In Japan, governmental investigations have been conducted for non-compliance with regenerative medicine laws, which highlights the importance of regulation-related education.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS

These regulatory educational changes will be implemented in Australia. There is a clear need for public awareness and education regarding Stem Cell Therapies as well as Regenerative Medicine as a broad topic.

We intend to take action on the findings of JSRM, the public is right to want direction as well as a quicker time frame for medical governance to kick in. We have been working towards this for many years.
Macquarie Stem Cells’ goal is to;

  • Reduce pains and burdens, this includes the need for joint replacements. We aim to achieve this within 5 years.

  • Our goal is to prove the safety and effectiveness of Stem Cell Therapies, specifically in relation to orthopaedic disorders.

  • We will bring Stem Cell Therapies into Private Health Insurance, then Medicare.

As a final note, It is important for the public to seek guidance, not from internet search engines based on potentially false public opinions, but from the researchers and published medical documents.

 

REF: Shineha, R., Inoue, Y., Ikka, T., Kishimoto, A. and Yashiro, Y. (2018). A Comparative Analysis of Attitudes on Communication Toward Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine Between the Public and the Scientific Community. STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, 7(2), pp.251-257.

TAGS: Macquarie Stem Cells, Dr. Ralph Bright, Stem Cells reduce inflammation, JSRM stem cell findings, taking action about stem cell research, stem cell research, Macquarie Stem Cells goal

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