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Fergus R. McKenzie - Articles and news items
1. What do you feel are the current changing attitudes to Stem Cell Research?
Paul Andrews: First of all are we talking throughout this roundtable about human stem cells? Are we differentiating between human embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells, or patient-derived induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells? The differences in attitude and responses could be completely different. In addition: what do we mean by research: research aimed at therapy; for drug testing that might reduce reliance on animal models and lead to better drug safety; or basic cell biology research?
The pharmaceutical industry is at a crossroads: Research and Development costs continue to rise, whilst the pipeline of ‘blockbuster’ drugs is looking decidedly sparse for many of the major pharmaceutical companies. This state of affairs is compounded by the high attrition rates (>80%) of drug candidates, when they get to clinical trials. Thus, the major pharmaceutical companies are keen to apply new technologies that allow faster decision making (proceed with development of a drug candidate, or stop at an earlier point) and ultimately increase the number of new medicines that reach the marketplace.
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