The news: In an important test for stem-cell medicine, biotech company BlueRock Therapeutics says implants of lab-made neurons introduced into the brains of 12 people with Parkinson’s disease appear to be safe and may have reduced symptoms for some of them.
How it works: The new cells produce the neurotransmitter dopamine, a shortage of which is what produces the devastating symptoms of Parkinson’s, including problems moving. The replacement neurons were manufactured using powerful stem cells originally sourced from a human embryo created using an in vitro fertilization procedure.
Why it matters: The small-scale trial is one of the largest and most costly tests yet of embryonic-stem-cell technology, the controversial and much-hyped approach of using stem cells taken from IVF embryos to produce replacement tissue and body parts. Read the full story.
Here’s why I am coining the term “embryo tech”
Antonio, our senior biomedicine editor, has been following experiments using embryonic stem cells for quite some time. He has coined the term “embryo tech” for the powerful technology researchers can extract by studying them, which includes new ways of reproducing through IVF—and could even hold clues to real rejuvenation science.