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Posted on August 1, 2008 at 8:57 AM

In case anyone still has any misgivings about the promise of stem cell therapy, rest assured, for a new expert voice has emerged the eminent scientist Suzanne Somers. Yes, she of Threes Company fame is the new spokesperson for NeoStem Inc., about to launch a stem-cell-storage campaign in California. In an upcoming not-to-be missed event, she will have her stem cells publicly collected at the California HealthSpan Institute in San Diego, presumably from a lone fat cell or two still lurking in her thigh.

Suzanne must know something that I dont. Said she in the news release, “Stem cell therapy is the most exciting new breakthrough in medicine. It gives me great peace of mind to know that my own stem cells will be banked as bio-insurance for me. Now I am prepared for my future as the beneficiary of medical benefits while I am alive.” Odd. When I left the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) annual meeting in June, all I could think about was how much more we need to learn about how stem cells and their descendants talk to each other as they sort themselves into developmental pathways, and then reawaken to replenish and heal tissue.

I cant help but wonder if Suzanne, in her upcoming New York Times bestseller Breakthrough, mentions induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Once the bugs are out the viruses and oncogenes, that is that technology will yield stem-like cells right from any old cell. Its also possible, in culture, to coax one cell type into another, circumventing stem cells altogether. Suzanne mustve missed this news at ISSCR.

Maybe Im just jealous. Not of her hair, or career, or even her masterful thighs. For Ive been penning a stem cell tome all summer, even published a novel about them, and now Ive been scooped. I expected competition from perhaps Gina Kolata or Rick Weiss, but Chrissie from Threes Company?

My neural stem cells are simply stunned.

Ricki Lewis is the author of Stem Cell Symphony and many textbooks and articles. She is a fellow of the Alden March Bioethics Institute.

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