Saturday, February 16, 2008

Just Say Yes to iPS!


Clearing a huge hurdle on the road to embryo-free stem cell treatments, Professor Shinya Yamanaka announced yesterday that his team has found a way to grow induced pluripotent cells (iPS) without triggering tumors. Since Yamanaka first went public with his iPS research in December, the scientific community has been largely supportive of his work because of its promise both medically and morally. Sadly, some of the remaining holdouts for embryonic stem cell (ESC) research have used the threat of tumors to downplay his progress. However, Yamanaka's team took a gigantic leap forward in silencing critics with the news that he has successfully avoided this problem for six months in the mice that he is currently treating with iPS cells. Although the research is still years away from treating humans, we continue to be encouraged at the steady advances Yamanaka's work is making both in people's understanding of ethical alternatives to ESC and in treating disease.

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