In my local newspaper whose writers highly endorse embryonic stem cell research, reported nothing on adult stem cell research but rather focused on a study about reprogrammed stems cells. Science Daily also reported on this…
“Adult cells that have been reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) do not completely let go of their past, perhaps limiting their ability to function as a less controversial alternative to embryonic stem cells for basic research and cell replacement therapies, according to researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston, John Hopkins University and their colleagues.”
IPS was first accomplished back in 2007, so scientists have a long way to go in understanding it’s implications and it’s usefulness in treatments. How much of a limitation does it have? Only time will tell. In the meantime, there is great news about the progress of adult stem cell research!
Can you imagine a hospital or on the battlefield getting huge amounts of blood to treat people without donors? Scientists working for the Pentagon have develope artificial blood from hematopoietic stem cells which comes from umbilical cords! These blood cells are functionally indistinguishable from normal blood cells which could solve the problem of blood shortages and being able to be transported to inaccessible areas. It will eventually be tested on humans in 2013.
How can fat in our bodies strengthen our bones? Fat contains useful stem cells and it’s already been tested in race horses…
“The method employs a gel-like material to encourage stem cells from fat to regenerate damaged bone. The stem cells have been shown to stimulate the growth of small blood vessels in developing bone, encouraging healing. The gel keeps the stem cells at the injury site; as the bone heals, the gel breaks down. Straight injection of stem cells has a limited effect,” Leach said. “If we can localize the cells at the treatment site, the treatments should be more effective.”
What about heart patients? Rather than having to extract bone marrow, doctors can use adult stem cells right in the heart tissue itself. “Using heart-derived stem cells to treat heart attack and cardiomyopathy has some advantages over embryonic and induced pluripotent cells as they are potentially safer,” the article said. “It’s also notable that of these three cell types, it’s only heart-derived cells that are in current human clinical trials for this sort of treatment.”
Nature became very concern when a ruling was delivered in favor of adult stem cell research funding from a group who believed their work was being shunned by the Obama Admistration shift in policy to embryonic stem cell research. Editors claim the public who funds the research has no say rather it’s “Peer review should be enough to decide which projects merit funding,” they say!
Jeff Harvey who spoke on behalf on taxpayers said…
“This is perhaps the real problem with scientists–we often think we are the only ones capable of judging our actions. But consider what would happen if every group thought the same about their own group. Teaching can only be judged by teachers, highway paving can only be judged by pavers, judges can only be judged by judges, presidents by other presidents, despots by other despots, and criminals by other criminals. What a beautiful world THAT would be!!!”