Stem cell pioneer recognized for drug R&D breakthrough

Dr. James Thomson achieved global recognition for his work at the University of Wisconsin, making a clear case that induced pluripotent stem cells could be developed en masse and used as a very effective tool in drug development. Now the company he created to capitalize on that discovery, Cellular Dynamics International, has been singled out by The Wall Street Journal for recognition in its annual technology awards.

CDI's industrial-strength stem cell work involves making a billion genetically identical heart stem cells a day from any individual it chooses. And the technology is being used to assess potential toxic reactions among specific subsets of patients.

"Our hope is it'll make the drug-discovery process faster and cheaper and a lot safer for people," Thomson tells the Journal. And some 50 pharma companies are contracting with CDI to see how it works.

Once stem cells are used for therapeutic purposes CDI could also play a key role in creating the kind of stem cell treatments that could be customized for a patient, avoiding immune system reactions.

- here's the report from the WSJ

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