Tuesday, June 11, 2013

TED Talk Tuesday: Dr Robert Lanza - Cloning, Stem Cells & Regenerating Life

This week's TED Talk is from the TEDXDeExtinction conference held back in March and features Dr. Robert Lanza. I first heard about Dr. Lanza when I was diagnosed with Stargardt's Disease last April. Dr. Lanza is the Chief Scientific Officer for Advanced Cell Technology which is an U.S. Biotech company that is currently conducting a clinical trial involving Age Related Macular Degeneration and Stargardt's.
The trial is testing for the safe use of human embryonic stem cells in the regeneration of damaged cells in the eye. The company has been in the news lately for some encouraging developments in the trial that I'll write more about in further detail in a future post.

You may be curious about the correlation between regenerative medicine and extinct animals. The same technology that is being developed to possibly restore the vision of others and myself, may also bring back animals who have been long gone. Well not too long gone but you'll won't be able to have a pet T-Rex or read headlines like "A Pterodactyl Stole My Baby!!!" In my personal opinion that would be cool but I guess I have to stick with going to Universal Studios in Orlando to go to Jurassic Park which isn't all that bad.

Getting back to Dr. Lanza  his life story is particularly interesting. To be perfectly honest last year when I was diagnosed I was just happy to know that there were people out in the world working on a treatment or cure. It wasn't until a few months ago connecting with more people with Stargardt's (many of which are investors in the company, just for disclosure I am not) is where I started to hear his name and genius in the same sentence. Genius is a hefty word but how many people in their teens are genetically altering chickens to turn them from white to black?  The closest thing to genetic engineering I got to in my teens was playing The Sims, playing a more obscure PC game called Creatures and having a Gigapet. (Yes I'm a child of the 90s aka a Millennial)  Also, how many people can say they were mentored by Jonas Salk (discovered the polio vaccine), famed psychologist B.F. Skinner and Christiaan Barnard who performed the first successful heart transplant surgery. I'll stop listing his achievements before this post turns into a novel.
If you would like to learn more about Dr. Lanza check out his website here. I'm done for now so watch the video below and share your thoughts.
 

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