Stem Cell Therapies: Excitement Builds but Challenges Remain
With weak pharmaceutical pipelines and demand increasing for tailored medical approaches, adult and embryonic stem cell therapies are gaining ground as a therapeutic focus. Numerous companies are now active in this research and some observers estimate that the stem cell market could reach between $8.5 and $10 billion within the next ten years.
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The Fifth International Conference on Cell Therapy for Cardiovascular Disease is one of the largest medical meetings focused solely on cell-based therapies for cardiac repair and regeneration. While the primary focus during this year's meeting was on cardiac repair, vascular restoration and construction, critical limb ischemia, and noncardiac applications were also presented. Despite a difficult investment environment, optimism remains high with some therapies undergoing approval assessment.
More than 40 companies revealed promising research and clinical results at the 2008 Stem Cell Summit in February. Perhaps most impressive was the number of stem cell therapies already in use or tantalizingly close to market launch.
The science of stem cells is progressing, slowly but surely, towards the ultimate goal of creating a therapeutic. The challenge is now largely economic: convincing investors that stem cells present a viable business opportunity.