Susan Solomon, CEO of the New York Stem Cell Foundation, gave a TED talk about the promise of stem cell based drug screening back in June. It's definitely worth hearing what Solomon has to say about all the current, real world, uses of stem cell technologies, especially regarding drug screening:
"But what you can do with human stem cells, now, is actually create avatars, and you can create the cells, whether it's the live motor neurons or the beating cardiac cells or liver cells or other kinds of cells, and you can test for drugs, promising compounds, on the actual cells that you're trying to affect. ... You're not going to have to wait 13 years until you've brought a drug to market, only to find out that actually it doesn't work, or even worse, harms people."For more examples of iPS based drug screening, have a look at an article I wrote for Signals Blog in 2010. It's a little bit dated but the science still applies today.