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More Problems with IPS Cells: Rejection Now an Issue!

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While IPS cell problems are not new, this particular one came a bit out of left field. Scientists uncovered this week that stem cells made in the lab from normal cells were rejected by the same animal from whom the cells originated. As I’ve blogged before, this whole concept of IPS cells, while very interesting from a long-term scientific standpoint, is a solution without a problem based more on business models than any pressing medical need. Adult stem cells from the patient (or from a donor in circumstances that warrant that additional risk), are capable of repairing multiple tissues, so why the interest in creating embryonic like stem cells in a lab? The problem is that the business model isn’t as robust for adult stem cells as lab created stem cells (IPS cells). IPS cells can be easily patented and sold en masse in pharma style vials. This most recent problem of rejection likely means that much more heavy handed genetic modification of these unnatural cells will be needed to trick the body into believing that they are normal cells, which only further ups the risk ante for this technology.

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