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BRITISH scientists have developed the world’s first stem cell therapy to cure the most common cause of blindness. Surgeons predict it will become a routine, one-hour procedure that will be generally available in six or seven years’ time.
The treatment involves replacing a layer of degenerated cells with new ones created from embryonic stem cells. It was pioneered by scientists and surgeons from the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London and Moorfields eye hospital.
This week Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical research company, will announce its financial backing to bring the therapy to patients.
No matter your position on stem cell research, you've got to admit this is fantastic news.
-- Stephen C. Webster
Originally posted by LiquidLight
I think in order for this to be mainstream we would need a way to acquire stem cells besides embryos. Not to turn this into a stem cell debate, but I believe any embryo that can be brought to term should be. I'm not naive enough to believe that that will ever happen, but there are millions of people around the world that are against using embryos and that's a major obstacle for things like this.
Stem cells with the capacity to form any type of tissue can be created from adult cells without destroying embryos, according to new research that suggests a way of sidestepping ethical controversy over the field.
Originally posted by LiquidLight
Ithere are millions of people around the world that are against using embryos and that's a major obstacle for things like this.
ISCo has found a way of producing embryonic-like stem cells from unfertilised eggs. The egg is chemically stimulated to create a group of cells that form a non-viable (and unfertilised) “embryo”. This, explains Kenneth Aldrich, the firm’s boss, is something that could not be implanted into a woman’s womb and produce a child. Nonetheless, the cells it contains have the same characteristics as stem cells.
Besides any ethical advantages this procedure may have, it could also have medical ones. Because lines of stem cells created in this way have only one parent, they are immunologically simpler than normal embryonic cells—in other words they have a smaller variety of the proteins that trigger rejection. That lack of variety, says Dr Aldrich, means it might be feasible to create a bank of stem-cell lines that could be matched to every immune type in the human population, rather as a blood bank carries blood of all the different groups (A, B, O and so on). Replacement stem cells might then be ordered off the shelf.
Originally posted by MacDonagh
Hmm, very nice.
A brief search on Pfizer, the company that wishes to back this "miracle cure" turns up some interesting results, like the time they experimented on critically ill Nigerian children.
Or the time where they will eventually replace their employees with foreign workers.
Or the time they manipulated their own studies to push forward their drug Neurotin, for use on other disorders.
Hmm, what an odious company. Surely they wouldn't tamper with the miracle cure now to make it more profitable, would they?