In an article entitled, "Blazing the trail from stem cell research to regenerative medicine", Jane Bower of the ESRC Innogen Centre, at University of Edinburgh, and colleagues highlight some of the recent advances in stem cell science. They suggest that research in this area holds promise for applications in regenerative medicine, but point out that technical and ethical remain to be addressed. The researchers also discuss the issue of how to patent stem cell discoveries and to make them commercially viable.
Stem cells are immature cells that can replicate rapidly and then mature into the different cells needed around the body to build tissues in the skin, liver, heart, bone, brain, blood cells, nerves. They are present only in limited quantities in adults but are present in huge numbers in embryonic tissue. Human embryonic stem cells are currently the most promising source for therapeutic purposes, but their use has ethical implications.
Stem cell research holds great promise in medicine. Advocates hope that the work will lead to important therapies for tackling major degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer’s, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and arthritis. There are also the possibilities of using stem cells to treat debilitating injuries of the spinal cord and other structural injuries. Indeed, the recent case of the trachea engineered to avoid organ rejection by using a patient's own stem cells is a prominent and early success. Stem cells will also have applications in discovering and testing new drugs.
"Technical solutions may involve the use of human embryos and this has created barriers to the use of the technology in a number of countries," Bower and colleagues say, "There is already a need for the progressive development of appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks to allow both the scientific and clinical research to move forward." The team adds that, "Although public acceptability of the technology is by no means universal, it does not at present appear that therapeutic applications are likely to meet with wholesale rejection."
The researchers explain that while there remain technical obstacles to be overcome in stem cell research, Western scientists are not the only ones working on advancing this field. Scientists in China, South Korea, and India are also taking steps forward, although revelations of scientific fraud have led to additional negative publicity.
Nevertheless, the team believes that if a high level of routine success were achieved outside the West, then this might have a positive impact on the public demand for stem cell therapies in the West and so create the political pressure necessary to address the regulatory, legal, and ethical issues sooner rather than later.
Albert Ang | alfa
First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife
Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Life Sciences
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences