A landmark book by the senior science writer at Time magazine introduces us to a medical breakthrough that can save our lives.
Few people know much about stem cell research beyond the ethical questions raised by using embryos. But in the last decade, stem cell research has made huge advances toward eliminating some of our most intractable diseases. Now this sweeping and accessible book introduces us to this cutting-edge science that will revolutionize medicine and change the way we think about and treat disease.
Alice Park takes us from stem cell’s controversial beginnings to the recent electrifying promise of being able to create the versatile cells without using embryos at all. She shows us how stem cells give researchers an unprecedented ability to study disease while giving patients the promise of replacing diseased cells with healthy new ones. And she profiles the scientists and leaders-many with their own compelling stories-who have fueled the quest and will continue to shape the field in years to come.
Embryonic stem cells have been hot-button topics in recent years, generating intense public interest as well as much confusion and misinformation. In this Very Short Introduction, leading authority Jonathan Slack offers a clear and informative overview of stem cells–what they are, what scientists do with them, what stem cell therapies are available today, and how they might be used in the future. Slack explains the difference between embryonic stem cells, which exist only in laboratory cultures, and tissue-specific stem cells, which exist in our bodies, and he discusses how embryonic stem cells may be used in the future to treat such illnesses as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, spinal trauma, and retinal degeneration. But he stresses that, despite important advances, the clinical applications of stem cells are still in their infancy and that most real stem cell therapy today is some form of bone marrow transplantation. Slack concludes by analyzing how medical innovation has occurred in this area in recent years and he draws out some of the lessons for the development of new therapies in the future.
Today’s scientists are showing us how stem cells create and repair the human body. Unlocking these secrets has become the new Holy Grail of biomedical research. But behind that search lies a sharp divide, one that has continued for years. Stem cells offer the hope of creating or repairing tissues lost to age, disease, and injury. Yet, because of this ability, stem cells also hold the potential to incite an international biological arms race.
The Stem Cell Dilemma illuminates everything you need to know about stem cells, and in this new edition the authors have included up-to-date information on scientific advances with iPS cells, clinical trials that are currently underway, hESC policy that is in the U.S. courts, stem cells and biodefense, developments at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and growing international competition, plus all the basics of what stem cells are and how they work.