May 23, 2011 — A few years ago, scientists were clamoring for access to human embryos for stem cell research.  Now, the discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) from human skin and other adult tissues has sidetracked interest in embryonic stem cells.  The momentum is clearly going with iPS.  Is there any longer a need for embryonic stem cell research?

  1. Skirting controversy:  “Stem cell research courts both controversy and support in the community- depending on your viewpoint,” began an article on Medical Xpress.  “Now, for the first time, scientists at Monash University’s Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories (MISCL) have shown that they can make human stem cells from healthy adult kidneys without working on human embryos, circumventing ethical concerns around this research.”  A side-by-side comparison showed the kidney cells were just as good as embryonic stem cells in producing various tissues.
  2. Chemotherapy-resistant bone marrow:  Another article on Medical Xpress reported work at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center that stem cells from bone marrow can be genetically modified to resist damage from chemotherapy, helping cancer patients endure the treatment without harmful effects.
    Previously, chemotherapy treatments for gliablastoma, a brain cancer, have taken a harsh toll on patients’ bone marrow.  “Our initial results are encouraging because our first patient is still alive and without evidence of disease progression almost two years after diagnosis,” a doctor said….

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