Friday, August 01, 2008

Another iPSC advancement

from researchers at Harvard and Columbia:
While scientists had already used these reprogramming techniques to create stem cells from skin cells, this is the first time that these cells--called induced pluripotent stem cells, or IPS cells--have been generated from a patient. The ability to do so is key to creating models for studying complex genetic diseases, such as Alzheimer's. The findings also confirm that it's possible to use reprogramming techniques in older people and in those with a serious disease. "It was unclear if the fact that the patient had been sick for many years would interfere with our ability to reprogram [the cells]," says Eggan.
Sadly, Kevin Eggan is still under the delusion his failed attempts at creating cloned human embryos and killing them for their stem cells is the "gold standard" for stem cell work, according to the Boston Globe.
When they began working on the experiment more than two years ago, Eggan's team had planned to use somatic cell nuclear transfer, a technique that involves taking human eggs, removing the genetic material inside, and replacing it with genetic material from a patient. Eggan says such work is still crucial, and his laboratory continues to work on that technique, which is considered the "gold standard" for stem cell work. But because of legislation restricting scientists from paying women for their eggs, only one woman has donated her eggs, he said.
How is possible that a technique which hasn't created a single cell line, is incredibly inefficient, and will never treat millions of patients because of the lack of willing egg donors is the "gold standard" for stem cell research especially considering how quickly and easily his lab was able to generate patient specific induced pluripotent stem cells?

Gold standard? No. Somatic cell nuclear transfer isn't the Lexus of stem cell research. It's more like the 1992 Ford Taurus whose transmission has blown up for the second time. Maybe Kevin Eggan likes trying to figure out how to fix things which don't work but he shouldn't act like his preference for trying to solve difficult problems is "crucial" when an easier, quicker, less morally divisive, more affordable technique exists.

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