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BIO Convention Puts Spotlight On San Diego Stem Cell Research

Aired 6/24/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Stem Cell Research In San Diego Highlighted at BIO International Convention

GUESTS:

Erik Anderson, KPBS Business Reporter

Anne Bang, M.D., Director of Cell Biology, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, San Diego

Mary Devereaux, Asst. Director, UC San Diego's Research Ethics Program and San Diego Research Ethics Consortium

San Diego is buzzing about biotech this week: The BIO International Convention is in town at the San Diego Convention Center. While the conference has drawn big names like entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as its keynote speakers, it's not just the guests who are making headlines.

Companies are announcing new ventures and clinical trials on a wide range of bio-tech topics, including regenerative medicine and stem cells.

A popular method now being used by stem cell researchers is known as "disease in a dish." The process uses a patient's own skin cells and manipulates them into stem cells. The cells are then tested with drug combinations right in the Petri dish to determine if they might assist with a condition or disease. But even though these cells, known as IPS cells, are not controversial embryonic cells, ethical questions about their use remain.

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