10 for 10 on stem cell day: 10 issues for coming 10 years

It’s stem cell day!

Or more accurately, it is stem cell awareness day. It’s a good time to think about where our field stands and where we’ll be in 10 years. Below, I’ve outlined 10 for 10: 10 things to ponder about stem cells in a 10-year timeframe.

  • Approved Therapies. How many new stem cell therapies will be approved as safe and effective in 10 years? I hope at least 10! These may include proven transformative regenerative medicine treatments for macular degeneration, Type 1 diabetes, paralysis, arthritis and other orthopedic conditions.Will there be a stem cell-based treatment for cancer such as stem cells that home in on tumors and directly deliver chemo in a proven effective, safe manner? As a stem cell and cancer researcher and cancer survivor, I’m very curious to see where we’ll be in 10 years.
  • Biotechs. How many successful stem cell biotechs will be flourishing in 2027?
  • Keeping the stem cell research fun in funders. Will CIRM and other state agencies still be actively funding stem cell research and biotechs in 2027? I hope so! How much will NIH be funding stem cell research? Private foundations?
  • Trials & training. How many more promising stem cell clinical trials will be ongoing then versus now? Even if there are fewer, will a higher percentage be promising and get to later stages? Will there be medical residency and/or fellowship programs in stem cells and regenerative medicine as I proposed a few years back? We urgently need more physicians properly trained in stem cells and regenerative medicine, at least in part to be involved in all those trials and to administer the approved treatments.
  • IPS cells. What will we all be thinking about IPS cells around their 20th anniversary? How many of the trials and approved new stem cell therapies mentioned above will be specifically IPS cell-based?
  • CRISPR. How much will genetics come into play with regenerative medicine with CRISPR joining up with stem cell technologies to define approved new combination gene-cell therapies? Will CRISPR be used in the human germline therapeutically in 2027?
  • Organoids. How much will organoids have changed the field within 10 years? On stem cell day 2027, will we be talking about organoids?
  • FDA. How will the FDA conduct oversight of the stem cell and regenerative medicine field in 2027? Will it be a more effective agency, both promoting promising investigational work to help patients sooner and protecting patients from sketchy stuff? That regulatory sweet spot is a challenge.
  • Non-compliant clinics. How many ‘stem cell clinics’ will there be in the US in 10 years and will that now difficult, risky side of the stem cell universe still be seen as a major problem? What about more globally?
  • What will be the big stem cell debate of 2027? There surely will be something being debated in our field! Something to do with genetics and/or germ cells? Maybe the anti-aging stuff (young blood, etc.)?

What do you think will be on our minds about stem cells and regenerative medicine in 10 years when we celebrate stem cell day in 2027?