Stem cell technology has been highly beneficial in the past and promises to revolutionize healthcare in the near future, allowing scientists to theoretically grow good cells that tactically kill the bad ones, or at least efficiently negotiates their severity. Billions of dollars have been poured in by the investors for the research and development of the stem cell technology but a recent study done at the Harvard University has detected that some of the cells grown in laboratory may contain mutations that can potentially cause cancer. This development may prove significant for all the stakeholders of stem cell technology market as well as global population that had great hopes from stem cells.
Five off 140 Human Embryonic Stem Cells Show Signs
The U.S. labs have registered 140 human embryonic stem cells, out of which five have been reported to have the culprit mutations. Out of these five, two have already been used on human trails, and although none of those volunteering patients have developed cancer, the risk is very real, according to the findings of the Harvard team.
This, by no means, reflects an end to the promising research underway on stem cell technology, as there is always a way to make the cells healthier before they are subjected to human. Moreover, further reviews are pending before its ensured what happens next. It is possible that there are a few other, lesser known mutations that are yet to be discovered. That being said, stem cell lines have been in use for the best part of past two decades, which is a long duration for a mutation to go unchecked.
DNA Sequencing a Solution?
Harvard team has raised a case that may force researchers to detect mutations via DNA sequencing, which in turn will add another mountain of investment as DNA sequencing is expensive at about US$1,000 for every genome.