All NEW Investors: Your gift matched $ for $ this week! GIVE NOW

Despite advances, stem-cell investors still wary

Steve Tripoli Jun 8, 2007


MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Congress has approved a bill easing restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. But the margin won’t be enough to overcome the expected presidential veto.

Critics of the measure say using embryos to provide stem cells for medical treatments isn’t necessary. Ironically, yesterday’s vote came on a day of surprising new advances in that area. Here’s Marketplace’s Steve Tripoli.

STEVE TRIPOLI: Scientists have found a new way to generate non-embryonic stem cells, but so far only in mice.

Dr. David Scadden’s a co-director at Harvard’s Stem Cell Institute. He says this and other recent advances still can’t replace embryonic stem cells.

DAVID SCADDEN: The other methods are ones that we hope to achieve, but we have no idea how long it’ll take to accomplish that.

Meanwhile, patients with a range of illnesses might benefit from the embryonic research. Dr. Scadden wants to move forward with it.

SCADDEN: As a physician, the drive to do that is one that it only takes a day in the clinic to realize is an urgent one.

Right now, scientists use human embryos that are discarded by places like fertility clinics. Opponents fear the drive to use stem cells will encourage the use of embryos from other sources.

Backers of the research say federal funding’s needed, because investors haven’t been stepping up to the plate. The investors worry that stem-cell therapies won’t be profitable for years.

I’m Steve Tripoli for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.