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Vision Quote of the Day

James Thomson

Father of Stem Cell Research

James Thomson: It's going to be a pervasive tool that anybody that's interested in the human body and human medicine is going to use. And they won't call them "stem cell biologists" anymore, it'd just be a tool they happen to use, as many other tools. And I think that's going to change human medicine a lot more than this transplantation, because for Parkinson's, for example, there are people that think that transplanting dopaminergic neurons -- that's the neuron that dies in Parkinson's -- will treat or cure that disease. I hope they're right, but there's a good chance that's going to be very hard. Nonetheless, this is the first time we had those neurons in our hands. And it means that we can finally figure out why they're dying. And if you understand why they're dying in the first place, then you shouldn't have to do something as crude as transplanting cells back into the human brain. Hopefully, something like a small molecule will arrest the progression of the disease once we understand the mechanism. So while I'm skeptical whether transplantation will happen anytime soon, I'm not at all skeptical that over my scientific career, we'll have a much better treatment for Parkinson's based on using these cells to understand the biology of those cells. I think that's true about the human body as a whole, is that in some cases, transplantation will work. But for the most cases, you don't want to do that in the first place. You want to make it so you don't have to do the transplant.
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