The potential to use stem cells as therapies is one of the most exciting areas of biomedical research. But how do we turn the promise of the lab into reality in the clinic? Prof Peter Andrews, director of a new regenerative medicine research ‘hub’ announced today, explains what lies ahead.
The idea of replacing worn out or diseased tissue with new healthy cells grown from stem cells is an attractive one.
And it’s certainly an idea that captures the imagination. Although we’re never going to transplant brains, the announcement last month that researchers had grown tiny brain-like ‘organoids’ in the lab gained a huge amount of press attention.
But how close are we to a point where having a cell transplant is the same as any other treatment? It’s fair to say that we’re a long way off. I don’t expect cell therapies to be commonplace for at least another 20 years, and probably a lot longer.
But one thing I can see more clearly is what we need to do to get to that point — and it’s a lot of careful, painstaking work in the lab. Read more