There’s always debate about stem cells and regenerative medicine, right? There are very strong opinions in our field. Here is a list of 10 current, provocative questions. I have my own ideas about the answers to these. Weigh in with comments with your answers.
I’m going to do a follow up post with some discussion of the questions. I may do another follow up with the top 10 policy questions in our arena.
Here’s today’s list in no particular order.
- Does the adult heart contain clinically meaningful levels of stem cells or stem-like cells? Do the adult kidney or lungs have such cells in meaningful numbers?
- Are there important, consistent instances where high-quality, validated human IPS cells are not fully functionally equivalent to top-notch validated human ES cells?
- Can SCNT-derived human ES cells (NT-hESC) have clinical impact to warrant the old name “therapeutic cloning” that describes their production, and to justify the difficulty of producing them?
- What is the future of direct reprogramming/transdifferentiation? Are there going to be concrete ways that this exciting technology is superior for clinical applications as compared to an intermediate IPS cell or human ES cell step prior to differentiation?
- How big a deal clinically are exosomes going to be? Why?
- What is the best clinically realistic way to track stem cells post-transplant?
- Can adult stem cells from distinct parts of the body be essentially functionally homologous?
- Do stem cells have real,concrete promise for anti-aging applications? Does young blood have anti-aging properties in humans and if so, is anybody on the right track for the mechanisms? Can research in this or related areas lead to safe and effective anti-aging products? Can blastemas or other regenerative healing units/processes be induced in people to spur regeneration of large functional units such as digits or limbs or other body parts?
- How far can organoid technology takes us and will it have direct clinical impact?
- Can normal, functional human gametes be made from pluripotent stem cells and potentially used for reproduction?