Moreover, the continuous debate about funding of the research created another obstacle for the progress of the stem cell therapy (Learn.Genetics, n.d.). In order to successfully continue the study of the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD) using stem cell transplantation, scientists would have to address a number of ethical and legal issues related to this particular subject.
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The issue of moral implications related to the study of human adult stem cells (hASCs) versus human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) has been dividing public opinion for a long time (De Bartolo & Bader, 2013). Researchers seem to be at odds with the social-ethical considerations and the country’s legislation. The majority of Americans vehemently oppose hESCs study because of the destruction of blastocysts during ICMs harvesting; however, the research of hASCs is almost universally accepted (De Bartolo & Bader, 2013). Taking into consideration the fact that this tendency is not likely to change in the following years, scientists have to consider alternative research paths. The field of hASCs has not yet been comprehensively studied; therefore, there are still many avenues for scientific exploration. A recent study conducted by a research group from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BHW) revealed that virtually any somatic cell can be transformed into an analog of an embryonic stem cell (Schroth, 2014).
The results of the research proved that creation of an embryo for harvesting hESCs might be not necessary in the near future. Moreover, this study could open the possibility for production of stem cells within an individual’s body without the aid of genetic manipulation (Schroth, 2014). However, the research of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) requires effective marketing and business strategies that would help to cover its costs. It is important to understand that health care community is not eager to adopt alternative approaches to regenerative medicine because of the high expenses associated with it (Prescott, 2011). There are several companies such as Invitrogen LifeTechnologies, ReproCELL, R&D Systems, Promega, Miltenyi Biotec and STEMCELL Technologies among others that were able to use successful marketing strategies to enter the iPS research market (Prescott, 2011). They concentrated on the supply of reprogramming tools and iPS cell lines (Prescott, 2011).
Miltenyi Biotec, STEMCELL Technologies and Invitrogen LifeTechnologies are also specializing in the production of “screening systems for toxicity testing and drug discovery” as well as the development of improved reprogramming conditions and deduction of iPS cell lines and their media (Prescott, 2011). The successful marketing strategy for the study of the treatment of Parkinson’s disease using stem cell transplantation should follow the path of the companies that were able to show the promising commercialization prospects of their projects. To this end, the collaboration with industry has to be established. It will allow the researchers to use already established pharmaceutical models of action devised by companies like Fate Therapeutics and Pfizer (Prescott, 2011). Moreover, if they initiate a strategic partnership with aforementioned organizations, they will get access to worldwide marketing that might significantly boost the research. The marketing strategy has to be two-pronged: it must shape customer’s perception of the product and it should ensure that numerous credible third party endorsements will occur (Prescott, 2011).
The advancement of the understanding of various diseases that have an extremely limited number of treatment approaches is a major objective of human stem cell research. The marketing strategies suggested above have the potential for facilitating the development of new methods of proprietary therapeutics.
De Bartolo, L., & Bader, A. (2013). Biomaterials for stem cell therapy. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Learn.Genetics. (n.d.). The Stem Cell Debate: Is it Over? Web.
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Prescott, C. (2011). The business of exploiting induced pluripotent stem cells. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 366(1575), 2323-2328.
Schroth, L. (2014). Researchers create embryonic stem cells without embryo. Web.