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: Mapping pluripotency differences between mice, monkeys, and humans

Related Stories

Stem cell propagation fuels cancer risk in different organs

August 25, 2016

The idea that stem cells - special cells that divide to repair and generate tissues - might be the major determinant of cancer risk has provoked great debate in the scientific community. Some researchers maintain that environmental ...

New method creates endless supply of kidney precursor cells

August 25, 2016

Salk Institute scientists have discovered the holy grail of endless youthfulness—at least when it comes to one type of human kidney precursor cell. Previous attempts to maintain cultures of the so-called nephron progenitor ...

Recommended for you

NASA team probes peculiar age-defying star

August 29, 2016

For years, astronomers have puzzled over a massive star lodged deep in the Milky Way that shows conflicting signs of being extremely old and extremely young.

Inferring urban travel patterns from cellphone data

August 29, 2016

In making decisions about infrastructure development and resource allocation, city planners rely on models of how people move through their cities, on foot, in cars, and on public transportation. Those models are largely ...

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.