Mass production of embryos in ‘stem cell factories’ raises questions

Mass production of embryos in ‘stem cell factories’ raises questions

A new synthetic material could allow for the mass production of human embryonic stem cells.

Researchers in Britain have discovered a synthetic material that could allow for the creation of what are called “stem cell factories,” or labs where human embryonic (pluripotent) stem cells are mass-produced.

It could be a huge boon for those who suffer from serious ailments, like a major heart attack that causes a huge amount of damage to your heart cells, according to a Business Standard report.

Stem cell treatments would work to replace those cells and dramatically increase one’s chances of survival, and the man-made material could allow for the creation of off-the-shelf products that could treat diseases of the brain, heart, and liver, to name a few. It creates a lot of possibilities for regenerative medicine without the costs and ethical implications of actual human stem cells.

There’s a lot of research to be done in clinical trials about regenerative medicine, and this synthetic material would allow stem cells to be manufactured in huge quantities until the therapies can be proven to be safe and effective, said Morgan Alexander, one of the lead researchers on the proejct and a professor at the University of Nottingham.

For their research, Alexander and his colleagues searched for polymers found in human pluripotent stem cells that can be grown at a rate of billions at a time. They were able to discover the possibility of producing a material synthetically that would be scalable and cost-effective.

Another researcher said that if it can be commercialized and validated by regulators, even though it is in the early stages of clinical trials, it could be helping patients in just a couple of years.

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