Dec 07 2007
As if to drive a stake through the heart of Embryonic Stem Cell Research, which took a hit just a few days ago with the news of a way to create stem cells from human skin cells, we now learn of another major breakthrough in adult stem cell therapies, which as has been announced:
Using a recently developed technique for turning skin cells into stem cells, scientists have cured mice of sickle cell anemia — the first direct proof that the easily obtained cells can reverse an inherited, potentially fatal disease.
Researchers said the work, published in yesterday’s online edition of the journal Science, points to a promising future for the novel cells. Known as iPS cells, they have been touted by President Bush and some scientists as a possible substitute for embryonic stem cells, which have been mired for years in political controversy.
The time it took to go from the initial breakthrough – mice skin cells to mice stem cells – was about 6-8 months. My guess is the time it will take to verify this new process on mice in humans could be quite quick as well (skin is one of those organs that is very similar across many mammals). The fact the skin cell path is seeing rapid advances in remedies is going to dry up all research money on the embryonic stem cell path.
And why not? Look at all the adult stem cell breakthroughs we have covered at this blog. We have seen adult stem cells creating heart valve replacements (in fact I found a second story on this one as well). How about adult stem cells into any type of cell required for repairing damage? It’s been done already. There is an adult stem cell therapy to repair damage from heart attacks being tested. There is a therapy for curing diabetes from adult stem cells. How about adult stem cell therapies for liver damage, leukemia, joint replacements? How about one for Muscular Dystrophy? How about the possibility of growing a replacement liver? All these promising therapies are showing successes and becoming ready for use in humans.
You can see through my posts on this subject all my rants against the false-hope promises that came from Embryonic Stem Cell proponents – many without the science background to understand the facts involved which dictate why adult stem cells were always the better starting point. My last rant was one of my bests – in my humble opinion.
But the fact is adult stem cell therapies are starting to burst forth and embryonic stem cell research as produced nothing – zip, nada. Look at all those therapies in the adult stem cell pipeline, and probably an equal or larger number in process we just don’t know about yet. And it is easy to see this debate is over. What is clear is we don’t need to kill young humans to help ailing humans.