Examining the Latest Research Using Stem Cells
Stem cells are the basis for every organ and tissue in our bodies. We continually rely on stem cells to replace and rejuvenate tissues lost every day, such as hair, blood, and skin. Currently researchers in this exciting field are working with patients suffering from a host of diseases and conditions that do not respond well to other therapies. These experimental procedures are termed “clinical trials” and are used to begin the study of how the human body responds to stem cell treatment. Early research is often done with laboratory animals, but success with animals does not always translate well into that same level of success with humans. Further research must be done to test both the safety and efficacy of the treatment for human patients before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can approve the therapy.
Review these assigned readings; they will serve as your scientific sources of accurate information:
Understanding Stem Cells [PDF, file size 974 KB] from the National Academies.
Nine Things to Know About Stem Cell Treatments (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
How Science Becomes Medicine (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Fighting aging using stem cell therapy (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Stem cells in Texas: Cowboy culture (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Goldman, B. (2016) White coat, black art: Stem cell hype and risk (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. CBC Radio
Kamenova, K., & Caulfield, T. (2015) Stem cell hype: Media portrayal of therapy translation (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. Science Translational Medicine, V7, Issue 278, pp. 278
Examine the Medical News Today (MNT) page on stem cells (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. . Under the blue banner “Featured news in this category,” you will see a list of links to recent stories about research in this area. Below this is another blue banner, “Featured reading in this category.” Select one article from either area.
Then, submit your responses to the following questions/prompts in your initial post:
Give the title, publication date, and author of the MNT article you selected.
Give the name of the scientist and the journal where the original research was published.
Describe in 2-3 sentences what the MNT article tells us about this area of stem cell research.
How reliable do you think this MNT report is, and why do you think this is the case?
Did you find that the author of the MNT article used a lot of sensationalist terms and implied that people with this condition would be able to receive such a treatment very soon?
If you or a family member was suffering from the condition you selected to examine, would you recommend they seek out stem cell therapy at this time? Why or why not?