During this science week, we learned about the dark side of science, and now here’s one area where technology has yet to overcome obstacles. The attempt to grow kidney cells from stem cells ended up with some rouge cells being brain and muscle cells instead. Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis discovered their lab-grown kidney cells harbored about 10-20% of these rouge cells. The experiment meant to find the different type of kidney cells as they do in real human kidneys, and that’s when they found the brain and muscle cells. They use a chemical cocktail that usually produced kidney cells.
While trying to grow the kidney cells they also found that there were too many immature cells, and during the effort to incubate them for a longer time, the rogue cells appeared. The study did find a way to inhibit the growth of the brain cells, but scientists are still attempting to get usable and mature kidney cells in order to study kidney diseases.
When it comes to cutting-edge science like this, it’s hard for me to make a judgment. I don’t object to them using adult stem cells, but the article didn’t make it clear what was being used. For sure it is critical that all precautions are taken to keep these cells from being an avenue to anything that harms the general population. After that, I would not want to be like the priest in the movie “Something the Lord has Made,” who argued against touching the heart, it shouldn’t be done. Science in the interest of discovery and innovation is going to go into unknown frontiers, and when it is coupled with integrity and genuine concern, then there should be freedom to keep trying.