Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Moving beyond embryonic stem cells: Encouragement on the horizon

Date:
July 5, 2011
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
For nearly two decades, the medical world and the American public have grappled with the lightning-rod topic of stem cells, in particular the controversy surrounding cells from human embryos. But when researchers four years ago successfully "reprogrammed" adult body cells to become stem cells, some thought the ethical debate was nearly over. Those redirected cells, known as induced pluripotent cells, or iPS cells, show potential as therapy.

For nearly two decades, the medical world and the American public have grappled with the lightning-rod topic of stem cells, in particular the controversy surrounding cells from human embryos. But when researchers four years ago successfully "reprogrammed" adult body cells to become stem cells, some thought the ethical debate was nearly over. Those redirected cells, known as induced pluripotent cells, or iPS cells, show potential as therapy.

Related Articles


"The benefit is they require no destruction of human embryos," says Mayo Clinic hematologist/oncologist C. Christopher Hook, M.D., an author reviewing the science and ethics of stem cell technologies in the July issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. "The hope is that these cells may make embryonic stem cells unnecessary, but, according to the stem cell scientists, we're not there yet."

Scientists who specialize in stem cells continue to regard embryo-derived cells as the gold standard among stem cells in pluripotency, the capacity to become any tissue in the body. Other stem cell technologies have benefits: Blood, bone marrow, and umbilical cord cells contain stem cells that treat leukemia and other blood cancers, but because they are adult stem cells lacking pluripotency, they've shown limitations as universal regenerative therapies. The newcomers on the scene, iPS cells, can be taken directly from each patient and genetically redirected to replace ailing cells, avoiding immune rejection or the need for existing embryos or eggs to create embryos.

Hook cautions that there are still challenges with iPS cells, and the public shouldn't expect therapies to roll out in the next year or so.

"One of the problems with the history of stem cell technologies in general has been the unrealistic hype and promise of therapies far faster than the science could produce," Hook says.

In an editorial in the same issue, medical geneticist Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D., the Marriott Family Professor of Cardiovascular Research at Mayo Clinic, states that iPS technology may not have reached fruition, but is invaluable for learning about diseases and testing new treatments.

"We need to accelerate the pace of this research, and speed discoveries in regenerative medicine to help patients," Terzic says.

Worldwide, however, state-of-the-art research still depends on embryonic stem cells, at least in serving as a biological yardstick.

"This is a topic that remains charged and highly politicized," Hook says. "Some claim the controversy about the need for embryonic stem cells should now be resolved. Hopefully, in time, with iPS's the perceived need for and use of human embryonic stem cells will rapidly become obsolete, but, according to many in the scientific community, we're far from being done with them. There may be another option in the use of these new cells, but it's going to take time."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mayo Clinic. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. A. Terzic, C. D. Folmes, A. Martinez-Fernandez, A. Behfar. Regenerative Medicine: On the Vanguard of Health Care. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2011; 86 (7): 600 DOI: 10.4065/mcp.2011.0325
  2. D. G. Zacharias, T. J. Nelson, P. S. Mueller, C. C. Hook. The Science and Ethics of Induced Pluripotency: What Will Become of Embryonic Stem Cells? Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2011; 86 (7): 634 DOI: 10.4065/mcp.2011.0054

Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "Moving beyond embryonic stem cells: Encouragement on the horizon." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110705150930.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2011, July 5). Moving beyond embryonic stem cells: Encouragement on the horizon. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110705150930.htm
Mayo Clinic. "Moving beyond embryonic stem cells: Encouragement on the horizon." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110705150930.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) — Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) — Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Americans Drink More in the Winter

Americans Drink More in the Winter

Buzz60 (Dec. 22, 2014) — The BACtrack breathalyzer app analyzed Americans' blood alcohol content and found out a whole lot of interesting things about their drinking habits. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has more. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins