Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research in South Africa
Prof. M.I Parker and Dr. Kevin Dzobo, from the Cancer Molecular and Cell Biology Group, ICGEB Cape Town, recently attended and presented their research at a workshop on Stem Cell Science and Applications, held in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
They presented results on recent advances in stem cell therapy and on stem cells in regenerative medicine and cancer. The conference, organised and convened by The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) is an African-driven and African-focussed initiative for developing stem cell therapies and cure for diseases that have plagued the African continent.
Participants were drawn from countries throughout the African continent, including Kenya, Sudan, UR Tanzania, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Diseases such as cancer, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases have overtaken HIV as the major causes of death on the continent.
The workshop brought together a community of researchers, clinicians, and ethical regulators with a shared interest in building capacity for stem cell research, tissue engineering, biomaterials and regenerative medicine on the African continent. The multidisciplinary team of experts were able to network, train and mentor young scientists from the continent. Stem cell experts were from the African continent as well as from India and Brazil.
The workshop consisted of a series of lectures and presentations from experts and early career scientists over five days with hands-on practical training sessions being done at ICGEB, University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University. Early career scientists were taken through various techniques used in Stem Cell research such as immunofluorescence, Confocal microscopy and flow cytometry.
Kevin Dzobo also accompanied the scientists visiting the ICGEB Cape Town component on this occasion through the various techniques in use in the laboratories working on Stem Cell research.