Scaling Provision of Stem Cells

Large scale progress in research and clinical application of stem cell therapies requires an industry of cell provision. The MIT Technology Review profiles the efforts of BioTime to be a provider: "Stem cells hold great promise for medicine, both as a potential source of replacement cells for damaged organs and as a scientific resource to study disease and develop and test new drugs. But to realize that promise, scientists have to figure out how to make their products on an industrial scale. ... It's clear we'll need a much better strategy for reliably and reproducibly generating large numbers of specific cell types. Most studies until now have stopped short of doing this ... I could clearly see a customer base in scientists who simply see stem cells as a way of providing lots of cells for their use ... Currently, scientists prod stem cells to develop into specific cell types by exposing them to some of the same chemicals those cells would encounter during normal development. However, the process is often inefficient, yielding a small number of the desired cells that must then be purified from other cell types. ... BioTime is already gearing up commercial manufacturing, aiming to begin shipping cells in six to 12 months."


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