Undermining Stem Cell Medicine

Because of the imperfect nature of biomedical research, even outstanding scientists may make problematic recommendations for public science policy.  Preeminent stem cell biologist Dr. Mahendra Rao is promoting cost-effective strategies for establishing public banks of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).  Dr. Rao presented his iPSC bank concept for drug development applications in a recent lecture at the 2014 World Stem Cell Summit; and in a recent report he recommended strategies for developing banked iPSCs for cell therapies.  The main motivation given for these banks is the prospect of using iPSCs in drug development and cell therapy – applications, which even Dr. Rao acknowledges face major biological roadblocks.  Because of the now routine quality of iPSC production, Dr. Rao argues that we should invest in public banks that would integrate distributed resources to produce more and better cells in less time.  However, he minimizes the inherent mutation and immature development problems of iPSCs, and he does not address their inability to renew human organs and tissues like adult stem cells.  Pouring money into iPSCs would certainly not be wasted, but misappropriating what can be achieved with them undermines efforts with adult stem cells, which can actually advance stem cell medicine.

AsymmetrexUndermining Stem Cell Medicine

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