Advance Stirs Up Debate on Embryos
By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
华盛顿Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 28, 2008; Page A01
Scientists have transformed one type of fully developed adult cell directly into another inside a living animal, a startling advance that could lead to cures for a variety of illnesses and sidestep the political and ethical quagmires associated with embryonic stem cell research.
Through a series of painstaking experiments involving mice, the Harvard biologists pinpointed three crucial molecular switches that, when flipped, completely convert a common cell in the pancreas into the more precious insulin-producing ones that diabetics need to survive.
The experiments, detailed online yesterday in the journal Nature, raise the prospect that patients suffering from not only diabetes but also heart disease, strokes and many other ailments could eventually have some of their cells reprogrammed to cure their afflictions without the need for drugs, transplants or other therapies.
"It's kind of an extreme makeover of a cell," said Douglas A. Melton, co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, who led the research. "The goal is to create cells that are missing or defective in people. It's very exciting."
“这是细胞的一种极端的转变，” Douglas A. Melton说，他是哈佛大学干细胞研究所的共同主任，他领导了这项研究。“研究的目的是创造人们身体中丢失的或缺陷的细胞，这是非常让人兴奋的。”
The work was hailed as a welcome development even by critics of research involving embryonic stem cells, which can be coaxed to become any tissue in the body but are highly controversial because they are obtained by destroying embryos.
"I see no moral problem in this basic technique," said Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a leading opponent of embryonic stems cell research. "This is a 'win-win' situation for medicine and ethics."
“我认为这项技术没有伦理问题，” 美国天主教主教讨论会的Richard Doerflinger说，他是胚胎干细胞研究的主要反对者。“这对医学和伦理学来说是双赢。”
Researchers in the field, who have become accustomed to rapid advances, said they, too, were surprised by the advance.
"I'm stunned," said Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer of Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Mass., a developer of stem cell therapies. "It introduces a whole new paradigm for treating disease."
Melton and other researchers cautioned that many years of research lay ahead to prove whether the development would translate into cures.
"It's an important proof of concept," said Lawrence Goldstein, a stem cell researcher at the University of California at San Diego. "But these things always look easier on the blackboard than when you have to do them in actual patients."
“这是这个概念的一个重要证据，” Lawrence Goldstein说，他是圣地亚哥加利福尼亚大学的干细胞研究员。“但是这些事情看起来简单，当真正用到病人身上就难了。”
Although the experiment involved mice, Melton and other researchers were optimistic that the approach would work in people.
作者:admin@医学,生命科学 2010-12-23 17:11