Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Esquire explains the science and politics of stem cell research

Image from mediateletipos
Esquire published a long story profiling the work of stem cell scientist Anthony Atala. Among other things, Atala was the first to create a tissue engineered organ—in this case a bladder. It's a fascinating story about the science and politics of stem cell research. Atala's work has, at various times, been used to argue both for and against research with human embryonic stem cells.

Esquire writes:
He's stem-cell agnostic. He doesn't care what kind of stem cells he uses to build his organs, as long as they're safe.
That itself is a new development in the stem-cell battle. There's no longer a zero-sum game, embryonic stem cells versus amniotic stem cells versus iPS cells. Scientists have realized that, as Rao says, there's no perfect stem cell. "Really the right cell for the right job." So we need to develop them all.
We agree. Here's a page with charts showing the range of stem cell types we've funded. 

The story is worth a read, as much for the amazing science as for the insight into stem cell politics.

A.A.

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