After a decade and a half, stem cells remain a controversial topic

| | December 16, 2014
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

A couple of things helped lessen the [stem cell] controversy. By the late 2000s, researchers discovered other ways to create cells similar to embryonic stem cells without destroying human embryos, a promising advance that helped defuse the culture-war aspect. Then, in 2009, Obama somewhat loosened the Bush-era restrictions on federal funding for stem-cell research — and the compromise seemed to quiet both sides down a fair amount.

So, lately, scientists have been patiently continuing their stem-cell research in a less noisy atmosphere. And that work has actually led to a few advances — like restoring some sight in 10 patients with vision diseases. But the stem-cell controversy is far from dead. Researchers still might need cells from embryos to create certain treatments. If it turns out that non-embryonic stem cells aren’t good enough, that could re-ignite the culture wars.

Read full, original article: Stem cells were one of the biggest controversies of 2001. Where are they now?


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