Friday, June 19, 2009

Smart private money backs adult stem cells

From this week's FORTUNE magazine, the rich people's rag, another greenshoot of commonsense on stem cell science.

We have already have seen that notably rich man, Al Gore, invest many of his own millions in iPS. And we heard some sound advice to Mum and Dad investors on the Oprah episode where that notable salesman for embryo experimentation, Michael J Fox, had his portfolio priorities trashed by Dr Oz.

Now another confirmation that smart money, if not serious ethics, will be the one to give the thumbs down to embryonic 'therapies' and get on with the serious business of using iPS and ASCs. Only dumb public money (as per Obama) will continue to be squandered on desecrating embryos.

Note the standard journalistic trope about embryo cells being possibly more useful for treatments in the long-term... that is a mindless mantra which readers of this Blog could demolish in a few short sharp blows:

1. You can never use ESCs as treatment, since they form tumours (unlike safe ASCs);

2. If you only want to derive secondary cells as 'treatment' (as per Geron Corp) then you would always do better to use iPS cells as the 'factory cells', as they are genetic matches - whereas ESCs are not;

3. smart money says the default position is always to use cheap and simple iPS cells, as they are easy to obtain, superior as research material, and ethically non-contentious...

No, the journos will someday realise how vacuous their comments are about ESCs, which remain inferior in every way to iPS - let alone to ASC.

Adult stem cells are a promising market
Amid controversies over embryonic stem cell research, drugs using adult
cells are already bearing fruit.

By Anna Kattan, contributor
Last Updated: June 16, 2009: 11:03 AM ET

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- When it comes to stem cells, the public -- and the
media -- tend to focus on embryos. But researchers and analysts say
marketable therapies already are emerging from less controversial work
with adult stem cells.

Adult cells make up the lion's share of the stem cell space, mainly
because they are easier to come by than embryonic cells, and less expensive to
run in clinical trials. They are also derived from mature tissue, like bone
marrow or umbilical cord blood, so they avoid the ethical debate that
surrounds embryonic stem cells.

To be sure, many researchers consider embryonic stem cells to be more
versatile, and they may someday be more useful than adult stem cells in
treating diseases. But researchers also hope adult stem cells can help
them combat a variety of maladies from diabetes to heart disease.

In fact, adult stem cells are currently the only type of stem cells used
in transplants to treat diseases, such as cancers like leukemia.

Furthermore, researchers are far closer to commercializing drugs based
on adult stem cells than any product based on embryonic stem cells.

Read the full article…