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.

"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 July 28, 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 July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) — The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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