Man behind stem cell war may be peacemaker

November 23, 2007

The U.S. researcher who set off controversy by taking stem cells from human embryos may have quieted critics by creating a stem cell without using an embryo.

James Thomson sparked a heated national debate in 1998 when his research destroyed human embryos. On Tuesday, his lab at the University of Wisconsin was one of two worldwide reporting a way of turning human skin sells in what seems to be embryonic stem sells without using an embryo, The New York Times reported Friday.

Thomson said he had ethical concerns about embryonic research, even though he aid he knew it would offer insight into human development and held the potential for new treatments.

"If human embryonic stem cell research does not make you at least a little bit uncomfortable, you have not thought about it enough," he told the Times.

He said he never anticipated the political and ethical divisiveness his research created.

The new technique, which involves adding four genes to ordinary adult skin cells, will shorten the time before all the ruckus raised by stem cell research is memory.

"A decade from now, this will be just a funny historical footnote," Thomson said in the interview.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Colorful potatoes may pack powerful cancer prevention punch

Related Stories

Is nature mostly a tinkerer or an inventor?

August 18, 2015

The Krüppel-like factor and specificity protein (KLF/SP) genes are found across many species, ranging from single cell organisms to humans. This gene family has been conserved during evolution, because it plays a vital role ...

How a female X chromosome is inactivated

August 10, 2015

In female mammals, one of the two X chromosomes is inactivated. Thanks to research using special stem cells, geneticists at ETH Zurich have been able to provide detailed insight into the molecular mechanism behind this inactivation ...

Switching mouse neural stem cells to a primate-like behavior

August 7, 2015

When the right gene is expressed in the right manner in the right population of stem cells, the developing mouse brain can exhibit primate-like features. In a paper publishing August 7th in the Open Access journal PLOS Biology, ...

Recommended for you

Parasitized bees are self-medicating in the wild, study finds

September 1, 2015

Bumblebees infected with a common intestinal parasite are drawn to flowers whose nectar and pollen have a medicinal effect, a Dartmouth-led study shows. The findings suggest that plant chemistry could help combat the decline ...

ATLAS and CMS experiments shed light on Higgs properties

September 1, 2015

Three years after the announcement of the discovery of a new particle, the so-called Higgs boson, the ATLAS and CMS Collaborations present for the first time combined measurements of many of its properties, at the third annual ...

Brazilian wasp venom kills cancer cells by opening them up

September 1, 2015

The social wasp Polybia paulista protects itself against predators by producing venom known to contain a powerful cancer-fighting ingredient. A Biophysical Journal study published September 1 reveals exactly how the venom's ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

CWFlink
not rated yet Nov 24, 2007
This is a great breakthrough. It is a shame so much venom has been spewed for political reasons. I am still waiting, however, for the animal studies that prove the great value of stem cells. I am still stunned we've spent so much time researching HUMAN stem cells before providing the sound underpinnings required for safe research by fist proving the potential in animal studies. It is as if we're back in the dark ages, "bleeding" patients to get the evil spirits to leave their body! Come on, men and ladies! Where has "do no harm" gone? We are, at a minimum, harming patients by promising solutions that still have not been demonstrated in mice let alone primates.... and in any case, are many years away. We've allowed emotions and politics to drive this research, to the shame of us all.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.