Breaking-Embryonic Stem Cells produce Imposter Differentiated Cells

I’ve been a big critic of both Embryonic (ESCs) and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (IPSCs) as cell types more focused on business plans than on actually curing to managing disease. The reason is that adult stem cells are capable of the same feats, but seem to be less attractive because their business plans aren’t as robust as those for ESCs and IPCSs. Well, seems like nature agrees. A study just out shows that once these stem cell types differentiate into their target tissue, the tissue that’s created is not like the tissue that needs to be repaired, but more like tissue seen in a fetus! Huh? I thought the real advantage of ESCs and IPSCs was that they can differentiate (read turn into) basically any needed cell type and that they can do this so much better than adult stem cells. However, this study reveals that the new tissue you get is genetically different from normal healthy adult tissue. Oh well, back to the drawing board! The big concern is that to overcome these issues (rather than switching to adult stem cell use for almost all applications), more heavy handed genetic manipulation is likely in order which is likely to dramatically increase the unintended consequences scale. The upshot? Nature just sent us a telegram which says, “I gave you a tool kit of adult stem cells in your body to use to heal yourselves, why not use those cells?”

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