Bullish on the Future of Therapies Based on Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Some enthusiasm from the research community: "induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells [are] where I'm putting almost all of my chips these days, because it combines many of my interests - genomics, sequencing, epigenetics, synthetic biology, stem cells. I don't think people have fully appreciated how quickly adult stem cells and sequencing and synthetic biology have progressed. They have progressed by orders of magnitude since we got IPS. Before that, they basically weren't working. ... There is much to be worked out. But here's the leap. If you want to accelerate this, you have to pick an intermediate target that doesn't sound so scary. So you'll start out with bone marrow patients. And you're going to basically make a synthetic version of that patient's bone marrow using IPS, which is going to work much better than the diseased bone marrow. And once this works that's going to catch on like wildfire. And then you'll do skin, and then you'll do every other stem cell you can get. ... Will people who are, say, aging but not yet sick ever be able to use this technology? I don't consider this medicine, it's preventive. I expect somebody who is truly brave, who has nothing wrong with them other than maybe the usual aging, saying: 'I want a bone marrow transplant', or intestinal, or whatever. And it will gain momentum from there. ... Initially it will be wealthy people who will try this. Ironically, wealthy people are often willing to be the guinea pigs that are really in a sense the front line of new technologies. They're the foot soldiers. They're willing to put themselves at risk, and to spend money on it."

Link: http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/experimentalman/27164/

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