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Explaining stem cells

26 June 2009

Professor Sir Martin Evans

Nobel Prize winner for medicine, Professor Sir Martin Evans will this week outline key research which helped discover embryonic stem cells.

In a public lecture, part of the joint meeting of the British division of the International Academy of Pathology (IAP) and The Pathological Society of Great Britain hosted by the School of Medicine's Department of Pathology, Sir Martin will discuss the study of the biology of tumours of a particular type – teratocarcinomas.

Teratomas are tumours which show a multiplicity of differentiated tissues. Studies on the biology of these tumours resulted in the discovery of embryonic stem cells.

Sir Martin was the first scientist to identify embryonic stem cells, which can be adapted for a wide variety of medical purposes. His discoveries are now being applied in virtually all areas of biomedicine - from basic research to the development of new therapies. The work has already proved of great benefit in the study of cystic fibrosis.

Sir Martin was one of three winners to receive the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine for a series of ground-breaking discoveries concerning embryonic stem cells and DNA recombination in mammals.

Sir Martin, who came to Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences in 1999, has been exploiting gene knockout and gene trap methods both for novel discovery and to create animal modes of human disease.

From his laboratory came the first demonstration of gene therapy to cure the deficit in Cystic Fibrosis in a whole animal and recently, from a mutated mouse model, insights into the breast cancer gene BRCA2 function.

Sir Martin will deliver his lecture - Inheritance from Teratocarcinoma on Tuesday 30th June between 5.30–6.30 at the Reardon Smith lecture theatre.

Attendance is free and open to members of the public.

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