More on Frankencells on Turkey Day

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Researchers in Israel this week announced that all of the major induced pluripotent stem cell lines (IPS) have picked up abnormal chromosomes and that these mutated cells outgrow and out-compete other cells in culture-in essence, cancer in a petri dish. As I have blogged before, while IPS cells may one day rule the world with super cell lines capable of miraculous tissue repair, for now this is a dangerous concept. The issue is that once we begin to trick normal cells into acting like an embryonic stem cells, the unintended consequences scale is through the roof. The Israeli study confirms these fears. IPS is a great long-term goal, but not a short-term commercial or therapeutic reality. When considered alongside the much much lower risks of adult autologous stem cell therapy (the patient’s own stem cells that aren’t tricked into becoming an embryonic stem cell), you have to wonder why we’re spending so much money on IPS right now. Here’s a link to our published study showing that cultured, adult (non-IPS) cells are safer than the surgical procedures they help many patients avoid.

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