In the News – The Future of Stem Cells
Snippet from the article:
In the world of TV soap operas, it’s a familiar storyline. A brilliant but troublesome character who was written out of the script years ago makes an unexpected comeback, sending ripples of excitement through the community but also reopening old wounds. That, in essence, is what happened in stem cell research this week, with the return of a technique called therapeutic cloning. What comes next should make for compelling viewing.
A few years ago, therapeutic cloning looked like the future of medicine. It promised to realise the dream of repairing damaged tissues and organs using a patient’s own cells. But it also had a dark side: producing its supply of stem cells required the creation of human embryos which were later destroyed.
Read the rest in New Scientist — Stem cells: Back to the future
So maybe this means that within our horizon, we will be able to create hair cells from our donor area with cloning instead of transplanting the hair itself. Of course, this is theory right now and there is much to be worked out… but perhaps this points the map for the work we have to do.
From the same issue of New Scientist, I read another article about stem cells, more specifically about human stem cells created using the Dolly cloning technique:
- “The idea is to take a cell from a patient â€“ from skin, for example â€“ and fuse it with a human egg cell emptied of its own chromosomes. The fused cell behaves like an embryo and generates hESCs [human embryonic stem cells]. In theory, these cells can be turned into whatever tissue the patient needs.”
Hair could be a target for this just as the heart, kidney, or liver can be. I am aware of an effort that was made in the 1990s where hair cells were reproduced and injected into hairless mice. These hair cells grew in the Petri dish, but when injected into mice, they grew wild and in all directions, causing infection that killed all of the mice. Not so easy, huh!
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