Posts tagged ‘human embryonic stem cells’

This is a collection of the videos that I used in lab discussion section of the ethical issues in human embryonic stem cells research in the 2014 BIOL36701 Principles Development at Purdue University.

1. An introduction to stem cell – A stem cell story

2. Are embryos persons?

3. A question of balance?

4. How patients may be exploited – Stem cell fraud

5. hESCs alternative I – Stem cells – the future: an introduction to iPS cells

6. hESCs alternative II – STAP cells

In my last post, I provided several links to general introductions of stem cells. In this post, I will share several documentaries that show how bad people are taking advantage of desperate patients who have heard stem cells therapy may give them a last hope.

II. Desperate patients and people who take advantage of their situation

1. BBC Panorama – Stem Cells & Miracles (2009)

(2015-02-22) Youtube.com has taken this BBC video off from their site.

2. CBS 60 Minutes – Stem Cell Snake Oil (2010)

 

This is part 1 of the show; here are the links to part 2, part 3 and part 4.

3. CBS 60 Minutes – Stem cell fraud (2012)

Youtube link

CBS link

Over the years, I have been leading a discussion about the ethical and social issues of stem cells research in my class and have used a few useful videos on various aspects. You may find them useful too.

I. Introduction to the topic

References

Here are two recent scientific references that give the current status of iPSCs research and compared that with hESCs, as well as the challenges ahead in research and ethical issues.

  1. Robinton DA, Daley GQ. The promise of induced pluripotent stem cells in research and therapy. Nature. 2012 Jan 18;481(7381):295-305. PubMed PMID: 22258608.
  2. Hug K, Hermerén G. Do we still need human embryonic stem cells for stem cell-based therapies? Epistemic and ethical aspects. Stem Cell Rev. 2011 Nov;7(4):761-74. PubMed PMID: 21461713.

This reference is a general scientific review on various ways that one can reprogramming cells that may potentially be used for therapeutic purposes.

  1.  Gurdon JB, Melton DA. Nuclear reprogramming in cells. Science. 2008 Dec 19;322(5909):1811-5. Review. PubMed PMID: 19095934.

From Washington Post:

For the first time, an experimental treatment made from human embryonic stem cells has shown evidence of helping someone, partially restoring sight to two people suffering from slowly progressing forms of blindness.

In short, the authors of this study that is just published in Lancet differentiated human embryonic stem cells (hESC) into retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a key eye tissue that is often affected in retinal degeneration. Then, they transplanted these RPE cells into two patients suffering from Stargardt’s disease and age-related macular degeneration. The purpose of the trial was to find out whether this procedure is safe. Interestingly, there was a pleasant surprise that both patients seem to have some improvements in eye sight. While there is still a lot to do before stem cells therapy will become widely applicable as a general treatment, this finding is an encouraging first sign.

Reference

Embryonic stem cell trials for macular degeneration: a preliminary report [Lancet][pdf]