At the moment I am currently organizing the top science discoveries and achievements of 2012 for my site The Advanced Apes. While researching discoveries in health and technology, I couldn’t help but marvel in the advancements in stem cell application (Academic Article). While doing this research I was able to put these developments in the context of stem cell research over the past ten years. When I started becoming interested in science professionally I read a book called Stem Cell Now. Within it Christopher Scott discussed the advancements in stem cell application and its likely application in the future. Although in 2005 stem cells weren’t ready for prime time, it appears as though they will be ready this decade.
What does this mean for our future?
Interestingly, I had a chance to discuss stem cell research at the University of Toronto with a professor currently working on creating a heart from stem cells. She said her lab has currently progressed to the stage where they can identify stem cells and differentiate them to the point where they will start to pulse in the same way heart cells do. In the future, they hope to be able to create fully functioning hearts from stem cells. As long as this research continues to be funded we should be able to grow organs from scratch and easily replace them in our own bodies. How long will our lives be extended as a result? How will this medical development be applied worldwide? Will everyone have the same access to their own replaceable organs?
These questions should define the next few decades of stem cell research.