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Moving closer to stem cell therapy

Posted May 13 2010 12:00am
By Karin Kloosterman
May 06, 2010

An Israeli discovery allowing stem cells to be cultivated in quantities ample enough to meet the world's needs means that stem cell therapy could soon be within the reach of millions.

Mass-market manufacture of stem cells is closer than ever after a breakthrough by researchers from Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem's Hadassah University Medical Center has announced a breakthrough in methods for cultivating embryonic stem cells that enables the next step in the development of stem cell therapy, and the world has taken notice.

Citing medical breakthroughs in the scientific community can be irresponsible. Such announcements can raise expectations and false hopes for cures that are plausible only decades in the future, or even impossible to attain.

However, Hadassah's advance, as the scientists report in the prestigious journal Nature Biotechnology , takes stem cell researchers closer to realizing their dream of manufacturing mass market stem cell treatments for disorders such as Parkinson's disease, diabetes and age-related macular degeneration.

Lead researcher in the Hadassah study, Prof. Benjamin Reubinoff, director of the Hadassah Human Embryonic Stem Cells Research Center and an established and recognized researcher in the field, tells ISRAEL21c that stem cell therapy applications are not just science fiction.

Within the next year or two, companies in the US and Hadassah's technology company in Israel will start clinical trials on humans. His center's advance - a novel technique that allows researchers to grow and cultivate embryonic cells in suspension - paves the way for making this therapy available to everyone, not just the rich.

A decade in the making, so far

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