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the_coming_of_regenerative_medicine:stem_cell_therapy_is_on_it_s_way_quicker_than_expected [2015/12/14 05:26] (current)
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 +**The coming of regenerative medicine: Stem cell therapy is on its way quicker than expected**
  
 +Two ground breaking researches that were published by Haruko Obokata at the RIKEN Center for 
 +Development Biology will add another notch of controversial past for the Stem Cell research. The study 
 +demonstrated the transformation of adult mouse somatic cells into embryonic like stem cells with short 
 +dip in acid. The paper was put under investigation by both Japanese research institute and nature for 
 +potential credibility issues. The astonishing findings impressed the medical communities worldwide due 
 +to the resounding therapeutic implications. ​
 +
 +Stem cells have the ability to differentiate into many different cell types also known as pluripotency, ​
 +which represents a theoretically life-saving therapy for tissue replacement after disease or injury. Since 
 +most adult stem cells are lineage-restricted and able to differentiate into only a limited number of 
 +specialized cell types, the embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are completely pluripotent and studies show that 
 +this is a potential therapy in the field of regenerative medicine.
 +
 +//​Challenges of embryonic stem cell research//
 +
 +Despite the therapeutic potential of the ESCs, a major ethical concern is preventing it from advancing ​
 +beyond the petri dish and animal models. In order to derive ESCs, it will require the destruction of 
 +blastocyst- an early-stage embryo that is considered to be a veritable form of life. 
 +
 +In Canada, the regulations surrounding the stem cell research are plentiful that aside from three 
 +governing agencies it also includes Stem Cell Oversight Committee (SCOC) that is responsible in 
 +reviewing all relevant research before it allows funding. In addition to the mandatory enlistment in a 
 +national registry of human ESC lines. The embryos from which these cells are derived must not be 
 +created for the sole purpose of research which includes using leftover in vitro fertilization embryos the 
 +main source of ESCs (if free and informed consent is given by the donors). ​
 +
 +Due to the very strict regulations surrounding the basic stem cell research, it becomes a substantial ​
 +roadblock in succeeding the therapeutic developments.
 +
 +//Discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells//
 +
 +Shinya Yamanaka made a very important discovery in 2006 which led us one step closer to harnessing ​
 +the true therapeutic power of stem cell technology. Yamanaka showed that the forced expression of 
 +select pluripotent genes could reprogram fully differentiated adult cells back into pluripotent stem cells. ​
 +He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2012. With the latest advancement,​ it brought to the improvement ​
 +of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) process which includes the discovery of non-genetic techniques ​
 +that are safer and less mutagenic. These approaches are generally less efficient and limit the clinical use 
 +of iPSCs as disease therapies.
 +
 +Recent Stem Cell breakthrough leads to questions about regulations
 +
 +Proving the legitimacy of Obokata’s pH-induced stemness is still in question but there is no doubt that 
 +stem cell research is progressing at a swift pace. In the near future, stem cell therapy could completely ​
 +eliminate the need for drugs as damaged or faulty tissues and organs can be easily regenerated and 
 +replaced with stem cell-derived counterparts. In fact, functional organ structures from human stem cells 
 +already exist. Transplantable “liver buds” made of human iPSCs can grow and perform liver functions ​
 +when grafted to mice. Scientists have also created a mini brain “organoids” from human ESCs and iPSCs 
 +as models in the study of neurodevelopmental diseases.
 +
 +With all the success and advancement in stem cell research, it becomes clearer that the policy ​
 +surrounding the use of this technology seriously needs an update and a much needed reform like for 
 +example, the FDA. The FDA is unsure on how to categorize a patient’s own stem cells if it can be labeled ​
 +as “drug”. ​
 +
 +But the most alarming issue is the overwhelming appearance of stem cell clinics which falsely claims to 
 +offer safe and effective therapies for ailments like cardiovascular diseases to Alzheimer’s and even 
 +Parkinson’s.
 +
 +Clearly, there is a disagreement between the scientists who propel the stem cell therapy technology ​
 +forward and the policy makers who regulate and verify safety and validity of use in the market. It is time 
 +to realize that both are working towards a very important goal and that is to ensure that the public has 
 +access to quality, universally-available and accountable healthcare services. Both policy makers and 
 +researchers need to work together in order to keep up with the ever increasing demand for innovation ​
 +and effective therapies.
 +
 +References
 +
 +1. The future of regenerative medicine: Stem cell therapy may be approaching faster than you think by Christine Tam, [[http://​www.sp-exchange.ca]]
the_coming_of_regenerative_medicine/stem_cell_therapy_is_on_it_s_way_quicker_than_expected.txt · Last modified: 2015/12/14 05:26 by elena