Boon to Medical Research, Stem Cells Create Organs, Personalized Drugs

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Stem cells have been scientifically researched to be the future of medicine considering their incredible versatility and power to create organs and facilitate rejection-free transplants. However, the engagement of stem cells has been controversial; scientists have turned to induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells. Such revolutionary cells could allow pharma companies to examine the effectiveness of their new drugs and discover potential side effects in addition to developing personalized medicines. For instance, cells from a patient’s body could be transformed into muscle, heart, brain, or lung cells and used to treat several ailments, from diabetes to macular degeneration or heart disease.

Application of Stem Cells Not Easy in Thick of Weighty Challenges

Professor Janet Rossant, a pioneer in cell lineage, stem cells, and developmental biology, has realized some challenges in the employment of stem cells. Scientists need to be better at transforming stem cells into fully mature ones for potential applications in therapies. Besides this, the scaling up of stem cells is extremely vital. All of this could require more work and improved skills. Safety is foreseen to be another concern because stem cells could divide aggressively and that’s how, unfortunately, cancer develops. Furthermore, scientists need to be completely sure whether genetically manipulated IPS cells are normal. Nevertheless, ‘failsafe’ IPS cells are in the pipeline with a self-destruction option if they happen to become dangerous.

Senior scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) for developmental and stem cell biology, Prof. Rossant has been assisting the pediatric research hospital to study cystic fibrosis by turning IPS cells into genetic mutation-specific lung cells. Apart from determining the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene, SickKids was the first to use stem cells for producing mature lung cells that could be engaged to research about cystic fibrosis and test drugs for it.

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