IPS Cell Research
The Discovery of iPS Cells Should End the Stem Cell Debate
In what is regarded as a major scientific breakthrough, scientists in Wisconsin and Japan reported in late 2007 that they were able to coax ordinary skin cells into becoming pluripotent stem cells -- cells that have the potential to become any cell or tissue in the body. Pluripotent is the quality in embryonic stem cells that scientists believe is valuable for treating diseases and conditions.
These new cells are called iPS cells (induced Pluripotent Stem Cells). No living human beings had to be destroyed to achieve this discovery which is revolutionizing the entire area of stem cell research.
This process has been replicated by many research labs all over the world. To be certain, the ethical controversy over destruction of human embryos has been minimized, if not completely mitigated, by this discovery.
What Lead to the Discovery
Practical Benefits of iPS Cells
Some have dubbed iPS cells as the "Holy Grail" of stem cell research because they are patient-specific and have the ability to benefit humanity without the ethical controversy from the loss of human life.
Human cloning, and all of the risks and disadvantages associated with this process, is no longer necessary. Women will not have to undergo risks to produce enough eggs to allow human cloning to be practiced. The perceived need to create chimeras (which are part animal - part human) to carry out human cloning is eliminated.
Use of iPS Cells
What Will Happen to Embryonic Stem Cell Research
The fact that Thomson, perhaps the world's leading scientist in this area, is working exclusively with ethical iPS cells in his own companies is a beacon of hope for forging ahead to learn new ways to treat illnesses and conditions without destroying human lives.
Thomson said, "We started a field (in 1998). Now we might have come up with the best thing to go on to. It creates a nice bookend to 10 years of controversy."
Thanks to the moral fortitude and diligence of many, we have learned, once again, that advances in the treatment of human persons do not have to sacrifice one person for the benefit of another.