Sunday, December 21, 2008

Year that could be turning point on disease - Times Online

Year that could be turning point on disease - Times Online:
"A tissue reprogramming technique that promises an almost limitless source of stem cells without the need to destroy embryos has been named as the breakthrough of the year by the prestigious journal Science.

The method for turning back the clock on adult tissue, so it acquires the versatile properties of embryonic stem cells, heads a list of ten achievements that also includes the direct observation of planets orbiting distant stars, and cheaper and faster technologies for mapping the genetic code.

The stem-cell advance, made by separate teams in Japan and the United States, has excited scientists because it could lead to tissue therapies for diseases such as Parkinson’s and diabetes grown from a patient’s own skin. ..."
With all the recent buzz that the new administration will roll back stem cell restrictions, it seems that new discoveries will reduce or even eliminate the need to resort to harvesting embryos for stem cells. No less a respected scientific journal than Science has named this the breakthrough of the year, and the advantages lie not only in eliminating one of the significant bioethical barriers to using stem cells, but also the fact that by using a patient's own cells, the problem of tissue rejection is greatly reduced.

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