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New Comic Book Explains Stem Cells in 'Graphic' Terms

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The book was written by Ken Macleod, an award-winning science fiction writer, and illustrated by comic book artist Edward Ross. Both men are based in Scotland.

It is produced by OptiStem, a pan-European stem cell research project funded by the European Commission under FP7. OptiStem unites scientists, companies and clinicians from 18 institutions across six countries. During the course of the five-year OptiStem project, members will carry out four different clinical trials concerning muscular dystrophy, severe corneal injury in the eye and severe damage to the oral mucosa. OptiStem partners with EuroStemCell to tell people about the work they do.

They created the book in an effort to go beyond explaining the science of stem cells to relay the process involved in moving stem cell research towards clinical trials and therapies in a way the public could easily understand. They settled on a comic book as the best way to do this.

Plans now call for an online, interactive version that will include videos and related content. The comic is available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

Hope Beyond Hype can be viewed online at http://www.eurostemcell.org/hopebeyondhype. Print copies are available on the University of Edinburgh's ePay site.