Iran investing in stem cells

Thirty years after the toppling of the Shah in Iran, the nation is undergoing another revolution of sorts. Iran is investing heavily in stem cell research, and despite researchers working with limited access to laboratory equipment and resources, the country may emerge as a scientific force to be reckoned with in the stem cell field. Image: flickr/youngrobvEven with their limited infrastructure, Iranian scientists have managed to isolate linkurl:six human;http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/jour

Elie Dolgin
Feb 22, 2009
Thirty years after the toppling of the Shah in Iran, the nation is undergoing another revolution of sorts. Iran is investing heavily in stem cell research, and despite researchers working with limited access to laboratory equipment and resources, the country may emerge as a scientific force to be reckoned with in the stem cell field.
Image: flickr/youngrobv
Even with their limited infrastructure, Iranian scientists have managed to isolate linkurl:six human;http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118558886/abstract and linkurl:eight mouse;http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1290/1543-706X(2004)040%3C0076%3ACCDFEO%3E2.0.CO%3B2 embryonic stem cell (ESC) lines over the past decade, and then successfully turn these cells into functional pancreatic, heart, splenic, and liver cells. "It's remarkable that they were able to do what they've done," linkurl:Konrad Hochedlinger;http://www.hms.harvard.edu/dms/bbs/fac/Hochedlinger.html of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital told __The Scientist__. "They are clearly catching up." Unlike many western countries, where religious wranglings have hindered the progress of ESC research, in Iran and other Islamic countries research involving...