Embryonic Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine

The New Scientist surveys current efforts to build regenerative therapies based on the pluripotency of embryonic stem cells: "Tissue grown from human embryonic stem cells, the most prized, and most controversial, cells ever grown in a lab, could at last make it into the human body. After a decade of scientific and political wrangling, several therapies are now edging towards human trials. Which will be first? ... The first human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to make it into the human body could be ones that save sight. Last week, Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) of Worcester, Massachusetts, applied for permission to inject stem-cell derived retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPEs) into the eyes of 12 patients with Stargardt's macular dystrophy, a rare inherited condition which leads to blindness in middle age. ... Last week came the first report of human skin made from hESCs. Although the cells have so far only been tested on mice, the idea is to use skin grown from these stem cells as temporary grafts for people with burns, while they wait for a permanent graft to be grown from their own tissue."

Link: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427364.400-race-is-on-to-use-embryonic-stem-cells-in-humans.html?full=true

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