Why All Stem Cells Sources Should Be Considered in Regenerative Medicine

Despite many advances in scientific research for iPS cells, Nature published an article on May 13, 2011 citing that reprogrammed cells had triggered an immune reaction in mice. These findings were later reported in a New York Times article by Andy Pollack.

This latest set back for use of iPS cells in mice emphasizes once again the extreme urgency to create sensible regulations for use of embryonic stem cells in regenerative medicine. The removal of politics from medical research has never been more pressing. Not only have embryonic stem cells been used to create various exciting treatments now in FDA clinical trials, but in many countries, researchers do not have to operate under the cloud of uncertainty caused by wavering court rulings and US political pressures.

Any important research program takes years, but in the present legal climate, groups seeking funding will surely be reluctant to gamble on the future of their research and financial support for the people in their lab. In short, with limited use of embryonic stem cells, treatments for diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS, Macular degeneration and heart disease will only be further delayed. With a rapidly aging population, the cost of such delays is incalculable.

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