Professor Burkhard Rauhut, Rector of RWTH Aachen, was not just a little surprised when an anonymous donor from Aachen suddenly decided to donate 300,000 Euro for stem cell research. His financial support should serve two purposes, on the one hand to contribute to new scientific findings in the forward looking area of stem cell research at the RWTH, and on the other hand to take stand in the debate on the current ethical and legal questions in stem cell research. Rector Rauhut is pleased that the research work of the RWTH is appreciated and recognised in public eye in spite of the controversial debate on stem cells in the political arena.
"Thanks to this generous donation we will now be able to hire an additional young and talented scientist who will be responsible for research in the important area of pluripotent stem cells", says a satisfied Professor Martin Zenke from the Institute of Biomedical Technology of the RWTH Aachen. Pluripotent stem cells possess a particularly wide development potential. This "all-rounder" is able to develop into many types of cells of the body and can therefore be used in the generation of patient-specific stem cells. "With this ability pluripotent stem cells open up new perspectives for medical treatment", explained Professor Zenke. So that this potential can be used for medicine, it still requires further scientific information on this cell type. For this purpose a young scientist will take up this work at the Institute for Cell Biology by the summer semester of 2008 and will spend the next five years concentrating on research on these cells.