Stem cells: what happened to the radical breakthroughs?

Much was promised in the late 1990s, but the challenge of advances such as growing whole human organs has been difficult to deliverIt’s 1998 and science is taking big strides. The first cloned mammal, Dolly the Sheep, has just had her first lamb; the first robotically assisted heart surgery has been completed; Furbys have hit the shelves. In a bold announcement, biomedical engineer Professor Michael Sefton declared that within 10 years, scientists would have grown an entire heart, fit for transplant. “We’re shooting big,” he said. “Our vision is that we’ll be able to pop out a damaged heart and replace it as easily as you would replace a carburettor in a car.”Stem cells were a little-known area of research then, but one gathering pace. Here was a blank-template cell with the potential, giv… …read more