An Interesting Cells=Drugs Story

POSTED ON 3/30/2012 IN Industry News BY Christopher Centeno

interesting cells=drugs story


This is an excerpt from an upcoming new book I'm writing (almost done). I thought that this paragraph represents a pointed discussion in the "your cells=drugs" debate and is a very interesting cells=drugs story:

"No single event in the past several years sums up the debate better than a phone call I recently had with a retired Embryonic Stem Cell researcher. He was railing against a stem cell clinic, using all the usual arguments frequented by scientists involved in the business of research. He stated it was too early to translate stem cells to the bedside, that a single adverse event may have a chilling impact on the “industry”, that there needed to be oodles of more research before stem cells could be used to treat patients, and that stem cells needed to be drugs. After literally 20 minutes of this monologue, he sounded very physically exhausted. I asked him what was wrong. His voice changed from that of a university professor lecturing to a skeptical student to a sick patient at his wits end, confiding in his doctor. His own severe neurologic condition had taken a turn for the worse he whispered. He had maxed out on his medications and his neurologist had informed him that there were no surgeries or other therapies that would provide help. His family was now caring for his basic needs, which was difficult, as he increasingly felt like a burden to them. Even the simplest tasks were becoming a Herculean struggle. He didn't know if he could go on much longer. His voiced then brightened a bit when he dropped the bomb. “I'm going to that clinic to get treated”. “I've been researching it for some time, I think they may be able to help me, and if it doesn't help then I'll know I've tried everything”. I was flabbergasted, but I also immediately understood. His academic arguments about this clinic and stem cells were just that, academic. When it came to his life, he wanted the ability to choose if he should get stem cells. I asked him if he knew what this meant, after the tirade against doctors using stem cells, that it all came down to one patient and one doctor deciding what's best for the individual patient. He said, “I know, I know…I guess I'm changing my mind on all that…”  

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