x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Ajman University hosts stem cell conference

Ajman is hosting a conference on stem cell research.

SHARJAH //The country's first stem cell conference began yesterday at Ajman University of Science and Technology.

The conference, Stem Cell from Theory to Practice, was opened by Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid, Ruler of Ajman.

"The conference on stem cells in Ajman, coming as we still celebrate the union's 40th year, is another achievement," Sheikh Humaid said. "I am very grateful to all the organisers for this conference and hope it will bring good results for researchers both locally and globally in the field of stem cell research."

Dr Saeed Abdullah Salman, the university's president, said he was grateful to host the conference, which had been postponed several times for various reasons.

He said stem cells remained among the most controversial scientific topics, but that increased research was vital to find therapies for patients with otherwise intractable conditions.

"Unfortunately, this vital scientific work is being hindered by politics," he said. "I was in China in 2009 and asked one of the leading researchers in the field about US policy to ban stem cell research, and all he could reply was it was just a political stance taken by the US government towards China. And after I also couldn't find a reason for it, I agreed."

Dr Saeed urged politicians to give stem cell research a chance.He said it could lead to a cure for some currently untreatable conditions, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, neurological disorders and spinal cord problems.

Hamad Taryam Al Shamsi, director of the Ajman Medical Zone and Sheikh Khalifa Hospital, said Ajman University was living up to its founding objective of innovation by organising such a conference.

"Stem cell research is important in the UAE to help in the treatment of people with different accident injuries," he said.

Papers presented at the conference included: Stem Cells: Research and Application Governing Laws, by Dr Shahbi Ibrahim Al Shafawi of Ajman University; Retrodifferentiation:A Simple, Safe and Ethical Approach Towards Stem Cell Creation, by Dr Elham Saleh of the UK; and Serious International Organisations Working in the Field of Stem Cells, by Dr Zayed Mohammed Al Zaabi of Jordan.

ykakande@thenational.ae