It depends on who you ask. Earlier this week, researchers announced that they'd successfully turned adult skin cells into embryonic stem cells. Headlines were made — including more than one that heralded this as the first step in human cloning. If you believe The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Fox News, this research was a big deal. The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, however, had a different take. According to those sources, this is more of a technical advance (but not one that counts as a "breakthrough") and something that's unlikely to have any clinical relevance whatsoever.

6 Responses to “Is new stem cell research super important, or kind of a big yawn?”

  1. Antinous / Moderator says:

    In related news, Gina Lollobrigida just raised $5million for stem cell research by auctioning off her jewels.  http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/15/entertainment-us-ginalollobrigida-idUSBRE94E03120130515

    • CH says:

      Wow! I’m seriously impressed!!! And now I feel totally embarrassed that I haven’t donated to stem cell research, however small amount, as it is one of my favorite research areas. (And also embarrassed that I’ve apparently had quite a bit of a low opinion of her, as my first thought reading the link was “Gina Lollobrigida donated to _stem cell research_????”… shame on me!)
      Anybody got any specific organizations to donate to that they would recommend (by googling I found several, but I have no idea which ones would be good ones?).

  2. Steve Nordquist says:

    I kind of expected Fox to be on the side of not buying embryonic stem cells (from adult skin) in the next 6-12 months; but then I expected Jon W’ms (or someone Whiteofficey) to remember airing Tea (thx. autocorrect) Party Keynotes where they throw ‘by any means necessary’ to the crowd like candy and ‘we refuse to be ruled by that government’ and such to the rally generale. It would mean citing 2007 bits though, so…

  3. Michael Carter says:

    Haven’t  induced pluripotent stem cells been available since 2007. I fail to see how this is novel by any means.

  4. timquinn says:

    If it means they can make stem cells without using fetuses that is more philosophical than technical use. It would take it out of the hands of politicians. That can’t be a bad thing. 

    But both POVs are correct.

    • dmatos says:

       gddmn nitpick:

      Stem cells have _never_ been harvested from fetuses.  By the time you have a fetus (~9 weeks), almost all of the cells have differentiated.  For that matter, even embryos differentiate after the first week.

      Embryonic stem cells come from blastocysts – embryos at about 5 days after fertilization.  These are nothing more than blobs of pluripotent cells, with no recognizable characteristics.

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