Scientist predicts stem cell 'pharmacies'

Stem cell "pharmacies" that dispense tissue therapies could be as common as chemist shops in 20 years' time, according to a top scientist.

Professor David Warburton, one of the world's leading experts on stem cells and regenerative medicine, said the era of stem cell technology was only just beginning.

In two decades he expected it to yield undreamed-of forms of personalised treatment for damaged body parts and organs.

Speaking on the eve of a major stem cell meeting in Nottingham, he said: "In about 20 years' time we will have stem cell banks just like we now have pharmacies with medicines in them.

"You'll get a diagnosis for a specific problem and be given stem cells to treat that problem."

Stem cells are "mother" cells that can be grown in the laboratory and used to make replacement tissue, such as brain neurons or insulin-producing pancreas cells.

Those obtained from early stage embryos - embryonic stem cells (ESCs) - have the ability to become virtually any kind of tissue in the human body.

Use of human embryos in research creates ethical concerns. However recent developments have led to ways of "tweaking" the genes of ordinary cells to turn them into stem cells with ESC-like properties.

Such research, combining genetics with regenerative medicine, has enormous potential, Prof Warburton believes.

"It's a wonderful time to be working in medical research," he said. "Genomic research is going to apply stem cell research not only to a specific disease but to a specific person with a disease. You're going to have personalised regenerative medicine."

Prof Warburton is based at the Saban Research Institute of the Children's Hospital, Los Angeles.

He has pioneered research into the use of stem cells extracted from the amniotic fluid that surrounds a baby in the womb.

Currently Prof Warburton is working towards clinical trials of kidney treatments using amniotic stem cells.

"These cells go around the circulation, sniff out the damage, and change the milieu inside the kidney," he said.

Scientists at his laboratory are also looking at reconstructing lungs using stem cells - a feat that has already been achieved in animals.

Other developments that might soon produce benefits include experimental stem cell treatments for blood diseases and spinal cord injuries, said Prof Warburton.

The UK National Stem Cell Network annual meeting is taking place in Nottingham all this week.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvSpoiler alert: It has been talked about for months
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington
tv
Voices
Almost one in 10 of British soliders fall victim to serious psychiatric side-effects after being prescribed Lariam.
CHRISTMAS APPEALThis is how one charity is using that 'waste' to feed Britain's war heroes
Life and Style
Facebook has apologised after a new feature inviting users to review a collection of their 2014 highlights caused some to be confronted with pictures of their recently deceased family members and friends
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Property Manager

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Junior Property Manager in a yo...

Recruitment Genius: Web Development Manager

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Service and Installation Engineer

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: SEO / Outreach Executive

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a global marketin...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?