Lead Into Gold: Technique Already Being Improved
Great news! The great stem cell breakthrough is already being improved upon. As a consequence, the half-hearted defense of human cloning by "the scientists," in which they point out remaining problems with induced pluripotent stem Cells, seems to already be losing water. (The future Nobel laureate?) Shinya Yamanaka,
the Japanese scientist who first pioneered the technique in mice and then followed up with humans, says he has already improved the process. From the story
Yamanaka's breakthrough would notably mean that stem cell researchers can sidestep the seething ethical controversy that comes from using embryonic stem cells, the most potent stem cell of all. In further research, unveiled on Friday by the journal Nature Biotechnology, Yamanaka's team report that they can now produce these so-called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, without having to resort to a cancer gene found to cause tumours in many of the lab mice in the earlier experiment. If confirmed, it will remove a significant safety hazard in using these cells in transplants one day. James Thomson, who originated human embryonic stem cells, claimed this breakthrough will end the stem cell wars. I was dubious. Perhaps I was too hasty in that assessment.