Alternative Sources of Pluripotent Stem Cells: Ethical and Scientific Issues Revisited


Stem cell researchers in the United States continue to face an uncertain future, because of the changing federal guidelines governing this research, the restrictive patent situation surrounding the generation of new human embryonic stem cell lines, and the ethical divide over the use of embryos for research. In this commentary, we describe how recent advances in the derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells and the isolation of germ-line-derived pluripotent stem cells resolve a number of these uncertainties. The availability of patient-matched, pluripotent stem cells that can be obtained by ethically acceptable means provides important advantages for stem cell researchers, by both avoiding protracted ethical debates and giving U.S. researchers full access to federal funding. Thus, ethically uncompromised stem cells, such as those derived by direct reprogramming or from germ-cell precursors, are likely to yield important advances in stem cell research and move the field rapidly toward clinical applications

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This paper was published in PubMed Central.

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