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Public lecture by Professor Sir Ian Wilmut FMedSci FRSE FRS

Extraordinary opportunities to study the molecular mechanisms that cause inherited diseases are being provided by new methods of producing stem cells. These techniques make it possible to produce from a patient cells that are equivalent to those early in their life. In principle many inherited diseases may be studied in this way including Motor Neuron Disease, schizophrenia, some forms of cancer and causes of sudden heart failure. In addition, human cells in the laboratory may provide important new approaches to the safety testing of new drugs. This has the potential to greatly increase the efficiency of drug development and reduce the costs involved. The lecture will illustrate not only the potential value of these new methods, but also the manner in which their development was prompted by research to clone a sheep.

Ian Wilmut is the Director of the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. The Mission of the Centre is to develop new treatments for human disease through innovative research with stem cells. The research of Ian’s own group is directed toward understanding the mechanisms that bring about reprogramming of nuclei and with exploiting new opportunities for reprogramming cells to study degenerative diseases, such as Motor Neuron Disease.