Human Exceptionalism

Lead Into Gold: The Venture Capitalists Cometh

There is an old saying that may be a cliche`, but it is true nonetheless: Money talks. In ESCR and human cloning research, the silence has been deafening: Venture capitalists having done their due diligence, they have widely avoided the field knowing the difference between facts on the ground and the bilious political hype emanating from Big Biotech aimed at getting a blank check (financial and ethical) from the govt.

But now, with the astounding early success of the IPSCs, “the money” is beginning to speak. From the story:

“We all feel the (induced pluripotent stem cells) technology has the potential to transform the regenerative medicine space,” said Thane Kreiner, chief executive officer of iZumi…”Our intent is to collaborate broadly with the best scientists in the world,” he said.
The iZumi agreement is Gladstone’s first collaboration in the stem cell field with a private company. The work will concentrate on the potential use of stem cells in cardiovascular medicine and drug discovery, Srivastava said.
The creation of pluripotent stem cells from adult human cells may accelerate the emergence of commercial products in the field, Srivastava said. Stem cells derived from adults known to have certain diseases could be used as research tools by pharmaceutical companies developing new drugs, he said. Conceivably, young adults may someday want to bank stem cells as possible future sources of treatment.
Actual therapies from stem cells as replacement tissues may be no more than a dozen years away, Srivastava said. “It’s not just a pipe dream any more.”

This opening–along with the venture capital pouring into adult stem cell research–may be the most important validation of the future of regenerative medicine as a wholly ethical and uncontroversial field that I have yet seen.

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