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"I think that generally the general public understands that this is technology that could be very promising," said Steven Stice. "And we don’t need to close the door if we do it ethically, morally, in a way that satisfies the vast majority of Americans. That’s what we’re doing."

Cell Types

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are adult cells which have been reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell like state (or pluripotent- able to differentiate into many different cell types), whereas embryonic stem cells (ESC) have been derived from embryos. Both of these cells types are able to divide and renew themselves for a long period of time and are unspecialized. Both iPSC and ESC can also be turned into specialized cells (differentiated).
iPSC are adult somatic cells which have been reprogrammed by introducing genes which are important to maintain pluripotency. More specifically, you could take a small sample of your blood and isolate the monocyte cells from the blood. Then in the lab, through in vitro cell culture, use a virus which is carrying the genes you wish to introduce to your cells, you then could infect the cells with the virus-thus inserting your genes of interest into your cells. Next you would grow the cells in the lab and maintain them and watch for any changes in morphology that would suggest they have been made pluripotent. Next you would need to verify that your cells are indeed pluripotent which could be done by immunocytochemistry (staining cells using antibodies that detect specific proteins on the cells).


There are multiple diseases that could be benefited through the use of stem cell technology. Stem cells could be differentiated into specific cell types and offer a source of replacement cells from damaged tissues. Some of these diseases include Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, ALS, spinal cord injury, retinal disease, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and fracture repair. Curing these diseases and injuries would be very exciting; however intensive research still needs to be performed to make sure that the therapies are safe and effective in human patients.
A good source to read up on current clinical trials is: Then search "pluripotent stem cells". This gives a current listing of all approved clinical trials in progress and information on each trial. Cells can be matched to a recipient's genetics exactly by taking a sample of your blood or skin cells and reprogramming as mentioned above to become pluripotent. Then there is not a chance of these cells being rejected by your body, since they are coming from your own cells.

Myths vs Facts

I think this is a promising decision by the government to allow for continued funding of this important research. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by the diseases mentioned in question #3, and being able to cure these diseases would be wonderful for all of society.
I believe that the public needs to be better informed about the process of stem cell research and this will help in their understanding of why we need this type of research to continue and all of the potential uses of this technology. Many people aren't aware that these lines of cells can be used for years to come and that often times lines of cells are made from in vitro fertilization clinics where the embryos have already been determined not to be suitable for implantation into a mother, which is where researchers can come and make use of these cells, with proper approval, rather than simply throwing them away. As far as induced pluripotent stem cells there should not be any controversy since no embryos are being destroyed and the cells can come from each patient, making them patient specific.
I wish that people who oppose stem cell development would have a chance to meet some of the people whose lives have been directly affected by diseases that could one day be cured by stem cells. We had an opportunity in our lab to meet with a family who is affected by Huntington's disease. This family had already lost a daughter to this horrific disease and now the son is also showing symptoms. I think being able to put a face to this disease brings the importance of this research close to home.