Date: September 16, 2010 8:48:38 AM MDT
'Human embryonic stem cell research is the $10,000 toilet seat of the 21st century. Years ago, science created a cell that appears to be, in the words of an MIT study published last month, "virtually identical" to an embryonic stem cell but is cheaper, promises better compatibility to patients and kills no embryos.
These new induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) "do all the things embryonic stem cells do," explains the father of human embryonic stem cells James Thomson. Harvard's David Scadden agrees that iPSC technology "is absolutely changing the field." IPSCs "perhaps even eliminate the need for human embryos as a source of stem cells," says Keisuke Kaji of the University of Edinburgh. IPSCs even caused the man who cloned Dolly the sheep to abandon cloning three years ago because "changing cells from a patient directly into stem cells has got so much more potential."
"The world has changed," Thomson told The Boston Globe in 2007. "Human embryo stem cell research will be abandoned by more and more labs." …
As CBS News reported on August 2, adult stem cells appear to have the ability to stimulate tissue repair and to suppress the immune system.
"That gives adult stem cells really a very interesting and potent quality that embryonic stem cells don't have," said Rocky Tuan, director of a cellular engineering institute at the University of Pittsburgh. '