Sunday, 8 March 2009
It was nice to hear some good news among so much gloom in the week. And that was the news that researchers in Edinburgh and Toronto have made a breakthrough in stem cell research. As I understand it, they've found a way of creating stem cells from adults' skin. These induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells can apparently transform into any of the body’s cells. The problem previously has been that introducing to the body cells created in this way caused problems such as cancer. The breakthrough is the discovery of a method of doing it without the problem. So it should, in time, be possible to introduce new healthy stem cells to replace ones which have gone wrong. In time, that sounds like good news for people with spinal injuries and neurological degenerative illnesses. It should also supply a source of stem cells for research into conditions like MND. From my point of view, the great benefit is that this method does not involve creating and killing embryos. That's the really good news.