“The strangest discoveries can end up saving lives… like the discovery that skin could be grown in a dish”;
so starts a 16 page graphic story that tells a story of stem cells from lab bench discoveries to working therapy.
The graphic story, Hope Beyond Hype, grew from the desire of a large european consortium of stem cell researchers, to go beyond just explaining the science of stem cells. They wanted to depict the process they undertake as they try to move stem cell research on towards clinical trials and therapies.
The consortium wanted to develop this resource because they view it as very important that scientists engage with the public and patients about the process of developing new therapies, and that scientists and regulators also engage.
Science fact not fiction
Hope Beyond Hype starts with the true life story of two badly burned boys being treated with stem cell generated skin grafts in 1983. We then follow the successes and setbacks of a group of researchers working together to use stem cells to cure blindness, whilst being introduced to knotty issues that are part of the process, including stem cell regulation and the controversial ethical issues surrounding the subject.
Read the story here!
Whilst some of the story lines sound like science fiction they are in fact all true, despite the fact the script was written by the well-known Scottish Science Fiction writer, Ken Macleod. Comic book artist Edward Ross illustrated the script with his clear, friendly and attractive artwork, whilst stem cell researchers from OptiStem provided the real-life examples of their research and experiences.
“As a science fiction writer I’m naturally interested in science, and I see engaging with real science as important to science fiction. I’m proud to have been able to contribute to this graphic story, which explains a vital new field of medicine and introduces complex issues of science policy in a clear, straightforward, and entertaining way.” Ken Macleod, Writer
An interactive, multilingual comic
Readers will also be able to explore the scientific process portrayed in the comic in more depth using the soon to be launched interactive version of the graphic story.
The comic will shortly be available in French, German, Italian and Spanish.
What's your take on using graphic story to explain the science and biology behind stem cell therapies?