Researchers Report Stem Cell Breakthrough
By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 20, 2007; 10:44 AM
Researchers in Wisconsin and Japan have turned ordinary human skin cells into what are effectively embryonic stem cells without using embryos or women’s eggs — the two hitherto essential ingredients that have embroiled the medically promising field in a long political and ethical debate.
The unencumbered ability to turn adult cells into embryonic ones capable of morphing into virtually every kind of cell or tissue, described in two scientific journal articles released today, has been the ultimate goal of researchers for years. In theory, it would allow people to grow personalized replacement parts for their bodies from a few of their own skin cells, while giving researchers a uniquely powerful means of understanding and treating diseases.
Harry Truman is famous for saying (in relation to congressional approval) “it’s amazing what you can accomplish, if you don’t care who gets the credit.”
Had the controversy not exploded over the ethics of using human embryonic or egg material for research, there’s not much doubt this breakthrough would not have occurred.
Now perhaps we can get down to the uses.