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October 28, 2004

When medicine meets moral philosophy

Stem-Cell Science
by Jonathan Shaw

The next time you look in a mirror, reflect on this: the face staring back at you is literally not the same one you saw two months ago. Your skin is constantly renewing itself. Like most specialized cells in your body, skin cells are post-mitotic — they cannot replace themselves by dividing. Yet there is always new skin to replace the cells that die and slough off in the shower every day. The source of the new you? Stem cells.

Doctors believe that if they can understand and harness the power of these cells, they will usher in a new era of regenerative medicine in which the body's own capacities for development and repair can be directed to cure such maladies as Parkinson's, diabetes, Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), and heart disease. With clinical applications in mind — between 100 million and 150 million people in the United States suffer from diseases potentially treatable with stem-cell-derived therapies — the University announced this spring the creation of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI), which will coordinate the teaching, training, and research of 100 scientists across 14 Harvard schools and affiliated hospitals (see "Stem-cell Science," May-June 2004, page 59). The HSCI has the full and enthusiastic support of President Lawrence H. Summers.

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October 28, 2004 in Tech/Science | Permalink

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Comments

this is a great article on stem cell research, it clarifies so many things with such simplicity....thanks a lot :-)

Posted by: Vatsa | Oct 28, 2004 7:43:22 PM

I'm a big supporter of stem cell research and your post cleared so many things up for me. Thanks SV for such a great article!

Posted by: Nia | Oct 28, 2004 2:41:17 PM

Hmmph. I need to re-educate my facial stem-cells. The damn things just keep reproducing the same mistakes, passing down the recipes for the same old wrinkles, age spots, and saggy jowls from one cell generation to the next. The young ones then outdo their elders by -- you got it -- coming up with new wrinkles ( and sags, and blotches).

Posted by: judith | Oct 28, 2004 11:39:37 AM

I was just wondering this afternoon, on what the hell is this stem cell, as I happened to read an article on the impending elections in the US. And there was much debate over these stem cells. Your article and link throws much light on the same... keep on doing the good work

Posted by: Bob | Oct 28, 2004 7:01:41 AM

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