Saturday, July 09, 2005

Jean Swenson: Stem Cell Tales of Hope and Hype

People who want government to fund ES cell research are expecting taxpayers to pay for science projects that knowledgeable investors will not. William Haseltine, ES cell research advocate and CEO of Human Genome Sciences said, "The routine utilization of human embryonic stem cells for medicine is 20 to 30 years hence. The timeline to commercialization is so long that I simply would not invest. You may notice that our company has not made such investments."
Those serious about clinical trials and treatments--not just basic research--are using adult stem cells or cord blood. The Spinal Cord Society (SCS), based in Fergus Falls, MN, with 200 chapters worldwide, is on the cutting edge of spinal cord applied research, meaning they're trying to find treatments that really work. SCS will be starting human trials using cells from patients' own nasal cavities. SCS leadership have said they would use ES cells "if they worked for us." But because of ES cell medical problems, SCS is currently pursuing adult stem cells and avoiding embryonic.