A decade after George Bush set the clock back for stem cell research, the science is showing signs of regeneration. Stem cells are mother cells that give rise to other cell types in the body. One of the more visible and vocal proponents of human embryonic stem cells (ES), Stephen Minger, says that the number of trials that are currently on suggests that the field is emerging from the shadow of skepticism and experimentation.
"When you see companies like Pfizer, GSK [GlaxoSmithKline], Johnson & Johnson and GE invest in stem cells and regenerative medicine, it suggests a level of maturity. It is still high risk, but it is a calculated risk," he says. Minger, who made the switch from a high-profile academician as director of the Stem Cell Biology Lab at Kings College, London, to the global head of Research & Development (R&D) for cell technologies at GE Healthcare, justifies his move as one for enabling cellular therapy. "I still do what I have done all my life - grow cells."
Indeed he is growing cells, not in a petri dish, but at an industrial scale that could one day supply zillions of stem cells to millions of people to repair diseased organs.
Minger grew up in Europe, studied in the US and returned to the UK in 1996 to pursue stem cell research. The field didnt exist for the outside world then, he recalls. In the early 2000s, Mingers group was the first to deposit a
10:41 AM, Sep 23, 2011