Stem Cells: The State of the Field

April 25, 2009 - 10:00am

Arnold Kriegstein

Stem cells hold the promise of revealing fundamental information about human development, and could ultimately be used to illuminate and treat a broad range of diseases and disorders, from heart disease, Parkinson's disease and diabetes, to birth defects and cancer. The cells could be used to replace damaged tissues. They could be used as vehicles to deliver drugs into the brain, to test drugs in the culture dish, or to create precise models of human disease in human cells.

Already, stem cells from patients with various diseases are being studied in the culture dish, and are being studied as a cause of some cancers. Stem cells could also cause serious side effects and lead to cancer.

This session will review the state of embryonic and adult stem cell research, and where the field is heading. It will also put the research in context of the current political climate, providing an overview of the impact of the recent change in federal restrictions on the field, and the hopes for funding in California from the $3 billion funding initiative that California voters passed under Proposition 71 in 2005.