One of those ethical alternatives is induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell research. In 2007, researchers discovered they could create cells which behave like embryonic stem cells by reprogramming adult cells. This research doesn't require the destruction of human embryos.
Since iPS cells provide an ethical alternative to human embryonic stem cells, proponents of human embryonic stem cells (like the University of Michigan) often minimize the potential of iPS cells because they don't want the public to realize our society doesn't need to kill some human beings in the vague hope of treating others.
However, in a recent press release, the University of Michigan let slip how they really feel about iPS cells. After receiving a $1 million donation to study bi-polar disorder using iPS cells, the University of Michigan didn't feel the need to downplay iPS cells. One researcher even called them "the holy grail of personalized medicine."
"The research we're doing is opening new avenues to help us understand this devastating condition," says Melvin McInnis, M.D., the Thomas B. and Nancy Upjohn Woodworth Professor of Bipolar Disorder and Depression at the U-M Medical School, the principal investigator of the Prechter Fund, and associate director of the U-M Depression Center.
"Soon, someone with bipolar disorder, or any medical disorder, could have their own stem cell lines available to model how their nervous system will react to a specific medication. This is the holy grail of personalized medicine and will radically change the approach to medicine."