Human Exceptionalism

Lead Into Gold: More IPSC Advances in Mice

Research on the new Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells continues to advance. Now, scientists have morphed them into heart and blood cells. From the story:

Stem cell researchers at UCLA were able to grow functioning cardiac cells using mouse skin cells that had been reprogrammed into cells with the same unlimited properties as embryonic stem cells. The finding is the first to show that induced pluripotent stem cells or iPS cells, which don’t involve the use of embryos or eggs, can be differentiated into the three types of cardiovascular cells needed to repair the heart and blood vessels…

“I believe iPS cells address many of the shortcomings of human embryonic stem cells and are the future of regenerative medicine,” said [Dr. Robb] MacLellan, an associate professor of cardiology and physiology. “I’m hoping that these scientific findings are the first step towards one day developing new therapies that I can offer my patients. There are still many limitations with using iPS cells in clinical studies that we must overcome, but there are scientists in labs across the country working to address these issues right now.”

I’m not a scientist but from where I sit, I still think most clinical applications for stem cells will be from the adult/umbilical cord blood types. But the IPSCs will apparently do everything scientists said they wanted from therapeutic cloning–and at far less expense, at no risk to women for their eggs, and without moral contentiousness. Too bad California is still borrowing $300 million a year to pay scientists research on human cloning.