This course will focus on emerging stem cell based technologies. Studies show that stem cells could provide promising avenues for a wide variety of conditions including cancers, orthopedic aging and injuries, cardiovascular conditions, neurological diseases, and infertility. In lay terms, we will cover background knowledge of different types of stem cells (embryonic, adult, and induced pleuripotent stem cells), their cellular and molecular properties, and sources from where they are derived. We provide an overview of recent research work involving the different types of stem cells and reflect on their pros and cons both in terms of scientific feasibility and ethical considerations. Moreover, we will discuss FDA-approved stem cell therapies and current clinical trials, FDA lawsuits against for-profit stem cell clinics, as well as clinical practices in different countries.
The format of the course will involve alternating short informational PowerPoint presentations and follow-up discussions. Each week, brief reading assignments consisting of select popular news and scientific review articles will be provided as additional learning materials and discussion topics.