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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Here you can find a list of answers to frequently asked questions about the CRTD, who we are and what we do and bringing regenerative medicine employed at all?

As part of regenerative medicine, scientists and medical doctors engineer cells or new tissues and transplant them into the body in order to improve the function of specific organs or tissues (e.g. skin for burn victims). Sometimes cells are seeded on biomaterials prior to transplantation (e.g. mesenchymal stem cells on materials for bone replacement). An alternative approach in regenerative medicine is to stimulate endogenous regeneration in patients. In clinical and preclinical studies, regenerative therapies have already shown great potential to treat large bone defects, Parkinson's disease, heart damage, diabetes and many other diseases. In some medical fields, regenerative therapy has already been successfully used for decades. For example, bone marrow transplantation saves thousands of lives each year.

Dresden has established an Islet transplantation program to treat diabetes. For more information please follow the link: https://www.uniklinikum-dresden.de/de/das-klinikum/kliniken-polikliniken-institute/mk3/klinische-abteilungen/inseltransplantation
For information on other clinical activities please contact the scientific coordinator of the CRTD, Dr. Andrea Meinhardt (andrea.meinhardt[at]crt-dresden.de).

Stem cells are normal cells that are not yet specialized and continue to multiply, producing more stem cells. Certain treatments can induce stem cells to become specialized cell types (e.g. bone, muscle, nerve, blood cells, and other types of cells). These cells can replace nonfunctional cells in patients or can improve the function of specific organs.

Stem cells are found in some adult organs, such as skin, bone marrow and brain (adult stem cells), in embryos at very early stages of development (embryonic stem cells), or are created from differentiated cells in a laboratory (induced pluripotent stem cells). The different types of stem cells have diverse potential to differentiate into cell types and are therefore used for distinct purposes.

Adult stem cells are found in differentiated tissues and organs throughout the body. In many organs they are important for repairing and maintaining the tissue. These adult stem cells can be isolated from tissue samples, expanded in the laboratory and eventually differentiated into specific cell types.
Embryonic stem cells are obtained from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst. The blastocyst is formed when a fertilized egg divides and forms a hollow ball of about 150 cells. This ball of cells contains two types of cells: trophoblasts and the inner cell mass. The inner cell mass contains embryonic stem cells that can be isolated and cultured.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) can be derived from the large pool of differentiated cells in the body (e.g. skin, fat, muscle, etc.), which are then transformed into embryonic-like stem cells by culturing and manipulation of the cells in a laboratory.

Stem cells offer the possibility of a renewable cell source in order to treat a wide variety of diseases and disabilities, such as diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular disease, blood disease, large bone defects and many other conditions. Stem cells can also provide a source of material for generating specific cell types in the laboratory. These cells can then for example be used to test novel compounds for their efficacy and safety. Thus stem cells can also provide a tool to discover novel drugs. Additionally they can be used to address the origins of certain human genetic diseases.

Most stem cell therapies are not fully established yet. This means they might help some patients, but cannot be recommended as a general therapy. Inappropriate stem cell therapies can have serious consequences if not evaluated and administered by certified medical doctors specialized in the specific field. Please be very wary about the promises found on various internet sites. Dubious offers are even made by private centers in industrialized nations such as Germany. Only trust centers that are run by individuals with academic qualifications in the appropriate field. For more information and to download the patient handbook on stem cell therapies, see the homepage of the International Society for Stem Cell Research: www.isscr.org/public/

The scientists, lecturers, and ethicists who work at the CRTD rely on your support. Individuals, families, foundations, and companies can help us to fulfill the potential of stem cell and regeneration research. With your encouragement, the CRTD can move closer to the goal of healing diseases produced by damaged cells and organs. More information about supporting the CRTD can be found here.

The CRTD is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as one of six DFG-research centers in Germany. It also receives funding as a Cluster of Excellence within the framework of the excellence initiative of the German government. CRTD scientists additionally raise third-party funds for their research.

The DFG is the central public funding organization responsible for promoting research in Germany. Its activities focus on funding research projects carried out by scientists and academics working at universities or research institutes. Only the best projects are selected in a process of fair and transparent competition. www.dfg.de

The CRTD press office regularly issues press releases and posts news about the latest scientific discoveries and developments at the CRTD. You can find reports about the research center in the newspaper, on radio, and TV.
Throughout the year, there are several opportunities for the public to meet CRTD scientists and get to know more about research in regenerative medicine. During the long night of science, several interactive displays are setup to present regenerative research to the public.
The CRTD also holds events such as the Seniors' Academy, Junior Doctor, and Summer University so that different target groups get a chance to catch a glimpse of our institute life.
Please find more information about our future events here.