>Here’s a cute biography of Shinya Yamanaka, lead researcher from the Japanese team that reported reprogramming of adult cells into embryonic-like stem cells.
As an M.D. myself, I find it interesting that, unlike veterinarians James Thomson of Wisconsin and Time Magazine Person of the Year, Hu Suk Hwang, Dr. Yamanaka is a human doctor, trained in orthopedics:
Yamanaka has spent most of his life in western Japan. A native of Osaka, he earned his medical degree at Kobe University and a doctorate in pharmacology at Osaka City University.
After completing his residency in orthopedic surgery, Yamanaka headed to the University of California, San Francisco, to do postdoctoral studies that laid the groundwork for his current research.
He does express concern about the possible uses of his research by unethical researchers:
Yamanaka worries about the road some people might take.
“We need to come up with some sort of rules about what kind of cells can be used and to what ends. Otherwise, someone may put this technology to use in troubling ways,” Yamanaka said.
The research’s ethical and social implications are never far from the table in Yamanaka’s laboratory, said Kazutoshi Takahashi, a junior professor who participated in the project.
“The potential problems are cut down when you use this method given that we don’t have to use embryonic stem cells, and that’s a good thing,” Takahashi said.
Since the debate isn’t yet over about ethical vs. unethical stem cells and since some people (like embryonic and fetal stem cell researcher and sometimes guest Science editor, John Gearhart, MD) have admitted to putting pressure on researchers to make sure that they follow the official line to pursue “all promising areas” (echoed here by the stem cell industry trade association organization, BIO) kinds of stem cell research, I hesitated to post this link and the quotes. But someone should record the true “debate.”
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