Friday, March 8, 2013

Versatile Breast Stem Cells Become the Next Big Thing (Maybe)

Ron Leuty, for San Francisco Business Times, writes about a new type of stem cell discovered at UCSF:
Endogenous pluripotent somatic, or ePS, cells could give rise to a new line of companies hoping to harness the potential therapeutic power of the discovery.
ePS cells don’t appear to be left behind by embryonic stem cells, like pieces of bread dropped on a path to help someone find the way home, [Thea] Tlsty said. The ePS cells, she said, have different expressions, surface markers and other characteristics than those found with embryonic stem cells.
The cells sound interesting, probably ethical, but a lot of work is needed to determine what the cells are useful for.  The abstract of the paper itself doesn't scream that the cells are going to bring a new era of stem cell research, so generating hype risks alienating the public from research that inevitably fails to meet expectations.

But are ePS cells something to keep an eye on?  Definitely.