A week is a long time in stem cell research. On Wednesday 11 September, UK science minister Lord Sainsbury was proudly trumpeting to a conference in London that the UK was fast becoming the natural home of stem cell research, with scientists there making progress at an "astonishing" rate.

Just four days later, PPL Therapeutics — the Edinburgh-based company that helped create Dolly the sheep — announced it was closing its stem cell research programme after failing to find any buyers.

The timing has understandably raised doubts about whether the hype over the potential for stem cell research in the development of new therapies for devastating diseases is matched by progress in the lab.

The company's decision has also highlighted the fact that it's likely to be some considerable time before patients begin to see any large-scale therapeutic benefits from the new technology.

PPL, by virtue of its involvement in...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?