The Science of Sustainability

Stem Cell Gold Rush

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California's landmark stem cell research program made headlines nationally, but what's the latest story behind the science? QUEST investigates the potential for medical breakthroughs in the next decade and how the Bay Area is leading the way.

Leave your comment or question below for Series Producer Josh Rosen on this story.

San Francisco Bay Invaders & Stem Cell Gold Rush (episode #110), airs tonight on QUEST at 7:30pm on KQED 9, and KQED HD, Comcast 709. (full schedule)

You may view the the "Stem Cell Gold Rush" TV Story online.

Josh Rosen is Series Producer for QUEST on KQED Television.

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Category: Biology, Health, Television

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About the Author ()

Josh Rosen was the TV Series Producer for QUEST from 2007-2009. He is a senior writer and producer specializing in documentary series and factual programming. Over the last decade he's produced a wide range of non-fiction hours, covering everything from Antarctic expeditions to Civil War history. With a background in feature film, Josh spent four years working with legendary German filmmaker Werner Herzog on multiple documentaries, including the Emmy-nominated "Little Dieter Needs to Fly," "Wings of Hope," and "Klaus Kinski: My Best Fiend." His more recent projects are currently airing on the Discovery Channel, the National Geographic Channel, the History Channel, and worldwide through Granada Media and RDF Television.
  • kenny

    Are stem cell a good idle for the people, if so how?

  • Erica Smith

    I believe that stem cells are a great idea. When explained it seems common sense to why these cells would act as a cure to so many problems. I have a 5 month old daughter who suffers from optic nerve hypoplasia and we search everyday for anything that may possibly help her. I understand that embryotic stem cells are contiversial but in all reality why is abortion not stoped and why when someone dies is it legal to donate organs? We are throwing away these cells everyday when lives could be saved. In my personal opinion thre day old cells are not human beings yet but a 24 week old fetus that can legally be aborted is!

  • Mark

    I am against embryonic stem cell research. The video says that human embryos are "tiny clusters of a few undifferentiated cells smaller than a head of a pin," which is, of course, true, but it is leaving out the most important point — that there is a difference between a cluster of human cells, and a human being in its earliest stages of development. Not just any cluster of undifferentiated cells has the potential of becoming a human fetus, then baby, adolescent, and adult — there is a difference between living human cells and a living human organism. The embryo is a living human organism. We need to have respect for that. If we don't, then we are saying that human beings don't have intrinsic value, but instead their value comes from criteria that are imposed externally — in other words, that it takes more than just being an (innocent) human being to be eligible for the right to not have your life taken away from you.

    Another thing that the video did not mention is how successful adult-type stem cell research has been already, while embryonic-type has not.

    It was said in the video that "science is all about … freedom of investigation." But surely this should not be taken to mean that science is exempt from ethics?? Just because we can do something, scientifically, doesn't necessarily mean that we should.

  • Barry Starr

    I think these issues will probably become moot in the very short term. Scientists have done some amazing work of late in converting both regular cells and adult stem cells into ES-like cells called iPS or induced pluripotent cells (see for more details). If this all pans out, there may not be a need to use human embryos.

  • Mark

    I had heard something about that. That is very good news.

  • Brent

    It is amazing of what they can do with embryos. But if we get them from abortions. Then they will pay for it and women will get abortions just for the money.