Mice Reject Human Embryonic Stem Cells; Dog Bites Man

In the “Duh” category of research, a new study from Stanford University finds that the immune response of mice targets human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). The last sentence of the SciAm report may be the most candid of the whole thing:

Leslie Silberstein, program leader for cell therapy at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, called the new findings important, but said he was not surprised to find that human ESCs were attacked in the same way as other cells.

No doubt. The useful part of the research appears to be a quantification of how long the hESCs lasted in normal mice, immune-compromised mice, and mice given immuno-suppressant drugs. hESCs lasted up to 28 days in the mice receiving immuno-suppressants. If human immune systems target foreign hESCs in the same way (a speculated but untested possibility), the researchers note that there may not be time to achieve a therapeutic benefit.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.