May 24, 2024

Thank you for waiting; your cures have been placed in a queue…

At least a decade away, says Ian Wilmut

To dampen expectations by a public hunger for cures, scientists have been
falling over each other to emphasise how long it will take to overcome the
limitations of reprogramming and to exploit its potential. The new cells
apparently cause cancers, for instance, a problem which will take time to
overcome. Research into diseases and drug testing are the main immediate uses.
"Creating cell lines for transport is unlikely to come down the pike any time
soon," says Paul Nurse, a Nobel laureate who is president of Rockefeller

The scientist who cloned Dolly the sheep, Ian Wilmut, is so convinced of the
merits of the new technique that he abandoned "therapeutic cloning" even before
the publication of the two landmark papers. However, he counsels patience in an
interview with the Yorkshire Post:

"If you look at the history of immunisation, it was 150 years between the
first experiments with cow tissue to fight smallpox to the kind of sophisticated
inoculation techniques of today, I think sometimes we forget how complex this
kind of work is.

"There are so many different elements to the research that if you started
working with a patient say on January 1, 2008 it would probably be 10 years
before you were at the stage where treatment was anywhere near possible. Science
is a wonderful thing just look what’s happened with antibiotics, with IVF and
organ donation, but we also need to be patient. False promises don’t help
anyone." ~ Yorkshire
Post, Dec 5