Despite the ethical and political differences they incite, stem cells are still a miraculous medicine, potentially able to change into whatever a sick body needs them to be. If we could get around the controversies behind them, theoretically, the problems would be gone.
By Spencer Woodman
Posted 06.21.2012 at 3:35 pm 0 Comments
One of the most vexing problems that confronted surgeons after they completed the first successful human organ transplant, in 1954, was: Where would they get more organs? Medical researchers have since figured out how to transplant hearts, eyes and even entire faces. But half a century later, they still struggle to keep up with the demand for parts. For example, in the U.S., every year 1,400 people die awaiting livers and 4,500 more awaiting kidneys.
Japanese researchers working with induced pluripotent stem cells have coaxed a semi-functional, liver-like tissue from a petri dish in what could mark a significant step forward for regenerative medicine and the science of creating new, working organs from scratch. There’s still a long way to go of course, but researchers are enthusiastic that the work could light the way forward for pluripotent stem cell research into organ generating technologies.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.