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Embryonic stem cell legislation will affect iPS cell research

Bioethicist Christopher Scott, who directs Stanford’s Program on Stem Cells in Society has an interesting study (subscription required) in tomorrow’s issue of Cell regarding the interplay of human embryonic stem cell research and its less-controversial cousin, induced pluripotent stem cell research. (Embryonic stem cells are made from human embryos, whereas iPS cells are made from adult human tissue such as skin.)  Scott and his colleagues at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Michigan concluded that any legislation that slows or stops human embryonic stem cell research would also harm research on induced pluripotent stem cells. The authors write:

We now have clear evidence showing the real possibility of collateral damage caused by ill-conceived and politically motivated policy prescriptions. Restrictions, regulatory uncertainty and spurious court decisions have undoubtedly retarded progress in the pluripotent stem cell field. Now, an entirely new technology, forged out of the crucible of political controversy, stands at risk.

The study is particularly pertinent in the face of the ongoing district court case regarding the legality of using federal funds to conduct human embryonic stem cell research under consideration by judge Royce Lamberth.

Scott and his colleagues back their assertions with an analysis of the patterns of publication on each of the two types of stem cells. They found that, rather than being widely adopted by many new scientists, most iPS cell studies are conducted by established human embryonic stem cell researchers. They also include a fascinating glimpse of networks of co-authorship in each of the two fields. Check it out. It’s a veritable Who’s Who of the stem cell research field, and it’s a great, pictorial way to illustrate how tightly the two types of research are intertwined.

Scott referred to a “false dichotomy” between the cell types in our release, and stated:

If federal funding stops for human embryonic stem cell research, it would have a serious negative impact on iPS cell research. We may never be able to choose between iPS and ES cell research because we don’t know which type of cell will be best for eventual therapies.

Previously: More on ongoing stem cell court case and Stem cell funding injunction overturned by federal court

One Response to “ Embryonic stem cell legislation will affect iPS cell research ”

  1. hynhbc Says:

    I agree moral, political and religious has made the mistake as it’s so powerful wrong affects on ESCs and the rounded earth.
    For decades ESCs has taking huge impedes when those wrong rivals took into policy and regulatory restrictions has caused huge impact on the progress of this new science while it would be having its equal opportunity paths of its own ways to search of the best results for very possible rescue the incurable diseases to help mankind and other creatures of their new frontier of medicine .
    ESCs are youngest adult stem cells and prior than 14 days in the embryos they are no life yet but just tissues respect to human life can only formed after 14 days in the embryos and the PDG method has been use to detect the abnormalities of the embryos for long time ago without any risk or harm from the healthy babies born were the proven . IMHO .

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