NPR logo

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Got Stem Cell Questions? Ask Joe

Got Stem Cell Questions? Ask Joe

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

I read the news of a breakthrough in stem cell research yesterday, and couldn't help but wonder if we're one step away from a cure for Alzheimer's, or M.S., or Parkinson's. No, we're not quite there yet.... Scientists did find a way to make ordinary skin cells act just like stem cells, though. And that means no embryos are harmed in the making of those stem cells. With an intense ongoing debate over ethics and harvesting human embryos for stem cells, the more immediate effect of this breakthrough might be political. New embryonic stem cell lines don't get federal funding. If these new skin cell-derived stem cells live up to expectations, scientists who study them would likely qualify for federal money. Still, this is more of a breakthrough for research than practical applications. And my question still stands: How does this find advance stem cell research into diseases and cures? Science correspondent Joe Palca will take time out before the holiday to help us understand what all this means in scientific, political, and practical terms.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Will stem cells facilitate the regrowth of teeth for those who have lost theirs?

Sent by Rick Wesley | 6:52 PM | 11-21-2007

It is my understanding that the new research being done on the skin samples, in stem cell therapy, will only produce "pluripotent cells" - not "totipotent" ones.

If this is correct can you tell me if any promising research is being conducted to harvest the totipotent cells and how it will be done.

Further, if this can be done, it would seem obvious that this would eliminate any need for the destruction of any human embryo; thus, allowing us to proceed in the right direction of a producible and useful cell without all of the harmful side affects caused in embryo reproduction.

I am working on a research project in this area and need to resolve this question.

Thank you.

Dennis Wagner

Sent by Dennis Wagner | 2:18 AM | 11-29-2007

I am doing a research paper on this at my college and I think this is a great thing that is happening. Because of all the people who were outraged by embryos and thinking it was killing an unborn child that was silly. But now researchers have found a way to make everyone happy I hope everything goes through and works because I think we need this.Thanks to all the scientists who can do this for us this will be great!

Sent by Jordan | 9:37 PM | 12-5-2007

My name is Ashley Underwood. I am currently doing a research paper about stem cells. I am aked to do an interview with someone who knows a lot about stem cell research. I have tried to contact many other, but non ehave responded. I am required to do am interview, and i am determined to do it. I know that this will only help my paper get better. If you could so kindly fill out the questions to the best of your ability that would help me out. If you could reply back ASAPI would also very much apperciate it. Thank you very much. Sincerly, Ashley Underwood

1.What are some of the greatest accomplishments with stem cells in the past 5 years?

2.What are the downsides of this experimenting?

3.Is it costly? Will the money spent be helpful in the long run?

4. What ways will it help us in the future? Is it true that researchers
are trying to grow organs in petri dishes?

5. How do you respond to the people who oppose of it?

Thank you agian for your time.

Sent by Ashley Underwood | 7:37 PM | 3-25-2008