Induced pluripotent stem cells

Today’s Washington Post reports encouraging news from the stem cell front:

Scientists reported yesterday that they have overcome a major obstacle to using a promising alternative to embryonic stem cells, bolstering prospects for bypassing the political and ethical tempest that has embroiled hopes for a new generation of medical treatments.

The researchers said they found a safe way to coax adult cells to regress into an embryonic state, alleviating what had been the most worrisome uncertainty about developing the cells into potential cures.

“We have removed a major roadblock for translating this into a clinical setting,” said Konrad Hochedlinger, a Harvard University stem cell researcher whose research was published online yesterday by the journal Science. “I think it’s an important advance.”

They’ve yet to work through all of the obstacles, of course, but this is very heartening news. Perhaps the greatest travesty of the scientific revolutions was the complete separation of science from metaphysical grounding; it has led, doubtless, to such problems as the use of iPS seeks to address. Here’s hoping for success!

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