California Boosts Stem Cell Research

by Malc on August 16, 2009

california-w200-h200Thanks to the residents of California, stem cell research has received a huge boost.

[tag-tec]Stem cell[/tag-tec] research is a cornerstone of the huge leap forward we will make in medicine over the next 30 years. We have already seen fantastic advances harnessed to treat broken backs, damaged vision, deafness, heart disease and advanced TB. All these would have been hopeless cases before stem cells were used in research.

These advances are but a small hint of what is to come.

Within a generation, growing major organs from our own stem cells will be routine. These ‘replacement parts’ will not be rejected as ‘not us’ by our immune systems. This means a person will not need to live on immuno-suppressant drugs for the rest of their lives following a transplant.

This does not mean a plantet of ‘walking wounded’. A healthy person who has to have a transplant – perhaps for genetic causes – will again become a healthy person. Perhaps even healthier.

Healing previously impossible ailments will also become routine – as with the spinal cord repairs which are now undergoing trials.

A large part of the progress in stem cell research has been thanks to the Californian people voting in a referendum to fund stem cell research. The state is unable to overturn this vote, so the bad economic situation has not affected the funding.

The referendum was in 2004, following which the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) was established. $1bn (£600m) has been committed to research, building labs and setting up infrastructure.

The Californian stem cell research programme is the biggest in the world, follow by New York’s programme.

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