The Limits of Regenerative Medicine

All too many efforts aimed at treating age-related disease are nothing more than brief patches for the problem - treat the symptoms but not the cause for a small gain. Regenerative medicine sometimes falls into this category: researchers "have discovered that dopamine cells that have been transplanted into the brain of patients with Parkinson disease [PD] develop pathologic changes characteristic of [PD] and do not appear to function normally ... Dopamine cells are transplanted into the brain of PD patients in the hope that they can replace those that degenerate and thereby improve symptoms of the disease. This study shows that implanted cells can become affected by the disease process and thereby limits the long-term utility of this approach. ... In the study, the patient improved initially but then deteriorated. ... these findings suggest that the disease process is ongoing and can damage newly implanted cells." When all you can do is patch, you patch, but we're moving into a more capable era now. We should aim higher, at eliminating root causes.


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