Stem cell research holds promise…and money

Stem cell research is gaining a lot of traction and attention from the public, governments and people who have felt the wrath of many devastating diseases either directly or indirectly. The state of California has passed a bill that will raise $3 billion through the sale of state government bonds for funding this type of research. It is considered to be quite a bit of money as it is in addition to federal funds that are also available to this research. The hope and plan is that this money will help researchers achieve some lab successes that will lead to clinical human trials for treatments and cures for some of the world’s worst diseases such as: diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and many types of cancer, among others.

According to researchers in this field of study, like Dr. Karen Aboody who is mentioned in an article on this topic in the Los Angeles Times, hundreds of mice have already been cured of their cancerous tumors. This is a very remarkable fact and the next step is to conduct these trials on humans to see if the results will transfer over. This is the hard part though because it requires FDA approval to run these trials and that takes time and money. This new money will help get to the point to be able to have FDA approval to conduct these tests. Dr. Aboody says that this money can speed the process up by four years. Even with it however, this is not something that will be available for use for people with these diseases this year or next. In Dr. Aboody’s case, she says that having this money in place will still take her about six years to get it to market.

I think that in a few years from now we will start to see some treatments based on stem cells trickle in to use in a significant way.  At that point, and perhaps even before then, investors and venture capitalists will become very enticed by this sector of health care and we will see billions of private dollars flowing to these labs. I think it has the potential of being a mini gold rush or bubble for the investment and venture capital industry. As always, not all will be successful and there will be many failures. Moreover, I think we will also see big pharmaceutical companies come up with these treatments themselves or buy out start-ups and small labs as they become proven or on the cusp of obtaining FDA approval.

I think this will be one of the high growth areas to work or invest in within the health care industry for many years to come and although it seems a bit distant now, it will soon become clear that this is where many opportunities will be found.