And for many of us scientists there was some of Nimoy and Spock in us too.
The news of Nimoy’s death was a bit of a shock to me. I had no idea he wasn’t well and had kind of assumed that he would be with us for a very long time. (update: Nimoy’s fellow Star Trek actor William Shatner recently got unproven stem cells and later a firm involved got warned by the FDA).
It seems that Nimoy died at least in part due to issues related to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a disease that more than 10 million Americans battle. Nimoy lost that battle.
Already several people have asked me the same question:
Could stem cells have saved him?
Eighteen months ago I wrote about the buzz of using stem cells for COPD.
I described the three main ways stem cells for COPD in theory might work, but I was skeptical (and still am) that we are close to a reality of using stem cells to safely and effectively treat COPD. Maybe some day in the future.
So unfortunately I don’t think that stem cells could have saved Nimoy unless he could have somehow otherwise hung on for another decade or so. Interestingly, Nimoy narrated a documentary film on stem cell research.
The number of stem cell clinical trials for COPD have more than doubled since I first wrote that COPD post, going from 7 to 18, but notably some are questionable as they are not what I would consider traditional clinical trials.
Spock was my hero as a little kid when I watched Star Trek re-runs before I even really understood much of anything about the man behind him. The more I learned of Nimoy, the more impressed I was with him.
Rest in peace, Leonard Nimoy.