Issues Magazine

Articles about stem cells

Stem Cells – Nobel Prize Rewards Shift in Stem Cell Research

Issues 73: Stem Cells

Issues 73: Stem Cells

By Michael Cook

The development of induced pluripotent stem cells overturned conventional thinking and removed the ethical issues associated with the destruction of embryos.

Two stem cell researchers have shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine for 2012, Britain’s John B. Gurdon and Japan’s Shinya Yamanaka. By a serendipitous coincidence, Gurdon made his discovery in 1962 – the year of Yamanaka’s birth.

Fifty years of stem cell research have brought cures for intractable diseases within reach but they have also generated controversy. Between 2001 and 2008, stem cell research vied with climate change as the stormiest issue in science.

This article was first published in Australasian Science (

Scientists, Students and Stem Cells

By Aimee Sanderson

Aimee Sanderson explains the genesis of the Stem Cell Channel and the importance of informed public opinion on stem cells.

A simple Google search on “stem cells” will quickly give you a hefty 17,400,000 hits. The first listings are pages of educational text outlining the ability of stem cells to transform into any cell type, and their potential to one day cure debilitating diseases. In contrast, sponsored advertisements appear promising that you can “be 20 years younger and more healthy with natural Swiss Stem Cell Therapy” and the tantalising “Treating Man’s Most Devastating Diseases! Taking Patients Now”.

Stem Cells: Ethics Versus Patient Needs

By Natalie Seach, Veronica Shannon and Richard Boyd

What is the current status of stem cell research and the moral and ethical concerns associated with stem cell research and its clinical translation?

The isolation of the first human embryonic stem cell (ESC) line, just over a decade ago,1 provided a remarkable catalyst for a revolution in medical therapies that could treat a wide variety of debilitating clinical diseases. ESC technologies have since developed rapidly. While scientists caution that clinical trials are still several years away, patient expectations for badly needed treatments are high, placing increasing demands on the ethical and regulatory boundaries and leading to continual public debate and revision of legislation.

What Are Stem Cells?

Cell Therapies for Premature Babies

By Rebecca Lim

Research Fellow, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University

Health risks for premature babies can persist well beyond childhood. Cell-based therapies may be the answer to serious lung complications in later life.

Babies born prematurely have a pretty rough start to life. Not surprisingly, this becomes more problematic for extremely premature babies born within the first 26 weeks of pregnancy.

This is a bit of a catch-22, since it the improvements in obstetric and neonatal care that are leading to the increasing number of deliveries of extremely premature babies.

In fact, these days babies as premature as 22 weeks of gestation are now born alive, albeit with health problems.