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Milano   15/3/2004 - 21/3/2004

Spazio Oberdan - viale Vittorio Veneto 2 - Milano

Stem cells - The cells of hope

  1. Director: Umberto De Giovanni e Gianna Milano
  2. Scientific Advisor: Angelo Vescovi
  3. Photography: Mario Liguigli, Davide Montepaone
  4. Music: Pino Laudadio, Marco Faragli
  5. Production: Provincia di Milano, Università degli Studi di Milano, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
  6. Italy
  7. 26 min.
  8. 2004

Since that day in 1998 when James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin succeeded in isolating human embryonic stem cells and inducing them to differentiate into various types of body tissue, great progress has been made in this field of research, for he provided the first proof of the immense transformation capacity of these cells. This documentary discusses the applications, both possible at present and foreseeable in the future, that can be provided by these undifferentiated stem cells found in adult tissue, foetuses and umbilical cords. After a brief overview of the biological characteristics of stem cells and their incredible potential, Angelo Vescovi describes the point that scientific knowledge has already reached: how stem cells behave, how valuable they may be in regenerating tissues and organs during every individual’s lifetime, and how this capacity can be used to treat neuro-degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and muscular dystrophy, as well as heart attacks, strokes and so on. The film also relates successes thus far achieved in using stem cells isolated from bone marrow for the treatment of illnesses such as leukaemia and lymphomas. It also tells how stem cells can be used to repair skin that has been destroyed by burns and recounts the successes already achieved in regenerating severely damaged corneas, an area in which Italian research is in the lead.

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