(Vienna, 21 March 2018) The Austrian Society for Stem Cell Research was founded on 20 March 2018. The aim of the Austrian Society for Stem Cell Research (ASSCR) is to provide a network interlinking the major actors involved in stem cell research in Austria. Markus Hengstschläger, Head of MedUni Vienna's Institute of Medical Genetics, and cancer researcher Peter Valent (Department of Medicine I, MedUni Vienna) are on the founding committee.
Frank Edenhofer from the Institute of Molecular Biology of Innsbruck University has been elected president of the new society.
New techniques in modern stem cell and organoid research offer unprecedented opportunities for medical science and considerable value creation for industry. Scientific groupings with expertise in different areas of stem cell research have already established themselves in Austria. This expertise ranges from basic research right through to successful clinical applications. Major initiatives are underway in other European countries to interlink and pool research activities in this emerging field. Austria is now following this lead with the foundation of the new Austrian Society for Stem Cell Research.
One of the society's main aims is to promote interdisciplinary exchanges between scientists, patients and doctors and, in so doing, involve politicians and opinion-formers. Public relations work is also one of its important functions: "It is hoped that social dialogue, education initiatives and information campaigns about stem cells provide the public with insights into the subject, highlight opportunities and also create a platform for criticism and frank discussion."
Markus Hengstschläger from MedUni Vienna's Institute of Medical Genetics, who conducts research into pluripotent human stem cells and has been elected onto the board of the new society, says "The field of stem cell research is not yet very extensive in Austria but, nonetheless, is very successful on the world stage. This gives Austria a clear opportunity to be a global player at the forefront of a specific area of research. The associated networking of researchers in this new medical society reinforces the status of the research location and also has clear implications for industry and, above all, for the translation of research results into new therapeutic concepts for certain diseases."