The good news about stem cells for 2012

Often on this blog I focus on challenges or problems in the stem cell universe, but sometimes it is important to focus on the good news and 2012 had much of that.

There are more stem cell-based clinical trials than ever before and there is good reason to believe that many FDA-approved stem cell products that will be available in coming years.

Stem cell research continues to advance on all levels and there were many important discoveries in 2012 (I’ll cover those in detail a separate post). The number of amazing stem cell research articles this year was impressive.

The FDA has exerted its legal and logical authority to regulate potentially dangerous stem cell products in specific cases bolstered by a big win in an important court case. I believe this will help protect patients.

Public awareness about stem cells, not just focused on disputes, is increasing. This is a big interest of mine and something I’ve worked hard on this year myself, but there are many folks working on education and outreach efforts.

Different parties in the stem cell arena are talking more. Until recently there were big walls between different, important groups in the stem cell world: academic scientists, industry scientists, patients and advocates, physicians, and regulatory groups. While there still are significant divides, it was a year of increasing engagement between these factions, another cause of mine.

Stem cell funding is stable, even if not secure in the long-term. The Sherley v Sebelius Case is nearing the end (hopefully the Supremes won’t take up the case and that’ll be it) and so far stem cell research funding has continued to win. I hope that President Obama continues to be a friend to stem cell research, but now in a second term a more active and public supporter.