LOS ANGELES – Vital to life, stem cells enable the body to grow, renew its tissues, and heal its wounds. Just a handful of stem cells are responsible for producing the 200 specialized cells that make up the human body, and without them, a human being could not survive more than three hours! Stem cell dysfunction can cause serious illnesses such as muscular dystrophy and is believed to be the cause of leukemia and other cancers. Guests will learn more about the biology and treatment possibilities of stem cells in the engaging exhibition “Super Cells: The Power of Stem Cells,” at the California Science Center from June 11 until September 5, 2016.
The free, hands-on exhibit features animation, touch-screen displays, videos and stunning images, and invites people of all ages to enjoy exploring the fascinating and little-known world of stem cells through four interactive zones. In “Our Stem Cells,” guests are introduced to a microscopic world to learn more about what stem cells are and the essential role they play in the human body. When exploring “Super Powers,” visitors assume the role of researchers in a game that illustrates the potential power of stem cells. The zone “Your Body: A Cell Factory” explains how the body creates stem cells from fertilization to adult age, through interactive challenges. Lastly the “Lab” allows visitors to see the ways stem cell research is carried out, and invites guests to play a game to simulate growing eye stem cells and implanting them in the eye of a patient in order to restore her sight, illustrating potential uses for stem cell research.
“Stem cell research offers exciting possibilities for the future of healthcare and research,” said California Science Center President and CEO, Jeff Rudolph. “We are pleased to host this interactive exhibit; it’s another great opportunity to expand the scope of our educational mission and present the science of biology in a way that we know will encourage further science learning among our guests. In particular, it will inspire new respect for the body’s cellular mechanism and its incredible complexity.”
Stem cells were first identified in 1961. It was a ground-breaking discovery, since these cells, which have the power to self-renew and to create the highly specialized cells the body needs, could potentially be used to treat various illnesses or injuries. Research is ongoing, and scientists are optimistic that, for example, in the future they’ll be able to restore the sight of a blind person by transplanting stem cells responsible for repairing the cornea. Today, scientists have identified more than 200 types of cells in our body and continue to study how they interact with the cells and tissues around them in order to better understand and treat disease.
With the increasing pace of research on stem cells, it is quite possible that we will see new treatments for a number of illnesses in our lifetime; illnesses such as muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, cardiac damage, type 1 diabetes and more. The exhibit “Super Cells: The Power of Stem Cells” examines the many treatments in development, and the potential of future treatments, made possible by stem cells.
The bilingual exhibition, with information available in English and Spanish, is making its way to Los Angeles and the California Science Center during an international tour. “Super Cells: The Power of Stem Cells” is presented by the Stem Cell Network and produced by the Sherbrooke Museum of Nature and Science in Quebec, Canada; in partnership with the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, and with the contribution of EuroStemCell.
To learn more about stem cells and to visit the exhibit “Super Cells: The Power of Stem Cells,” check the exhibit web site at http://supercells.ca.
California Science Center is located at 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles. Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. General admission is free. Timed tickets are required for the Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibition and may be obtained online for $2. IMAX Theater tickets range from $5.25 to $8.50. Both the Science Center and IMAX Theater are wheelchair accessible. Visitors can enter the parking lot at 39th Exposition Park Drive and Figueroa Street. Parking is $12 per car. For general information, phone (323) SCIENCE or visit www.californiasciencecenter.org.