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Stem Cells—A Widening Horizon

By: Aran Puri
Posted: October 5, 2009, from the October 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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With all of these complex factors influencing the final marketing decision to invest in a launch of a new product, it takes very brave individuals to predict and bank on a trend and persuade their organizations to launch a product based on it. However, sometimes all the diverse factors outlined may converge in such a manner that the answers are glaringly obvious. This seems to clearly be the case with stem cells.

Stem Cell News

Ethical debate regarding the use of human stem cells has received a great deal of coverage in the last few years. In the U.S., the country’s previous administration took a very orthodox stand against the use of human stem cells in medical research. This stance was reversed by the current administration. In the U.K., the government, after a serious evaluation of the issues, also reviewed and released new guidelines supporting medical research. And this trend for policy change on human stem cells also holds good for several other countries.

And as these changes take place, researchers and scientists are capturing headlines that are fostering the public’s curiosity in the potential—much of which has cosmetic implications. In March 2009, the U.K.’s The Sunday Times featured the headline: “Stem Cells to Grow Bigger Breasts.” The story outlined the clinical trials being carried out at Princess Grace hospital in London by a consultant breast surgeon. The paper also featured a front-page report on the Shanghai Institute of Cell Biology scientists’ studies on the potential of pig pluripotent stem cells to modify the animal’s immune-related genes and make its organs more compatible to the human immune system, thus creating an application for the use of these pigs as organ donors in humans.

Synergy in Research; Challenges for Beauty