GROW YOUR OWN TEETH, LIVER, PANCREAS & HEART
Personal stem cell medicine comes of age with Organs-R-Us IPO
Hot science has suddenly become consumer mainstream. Yesterday’s IPO of Organs-R-Us, based in San Diego, has mapped out the future of medicine and hospitals. This is health-care with a difference – everything is personalized, from drugs based on your own DNA and the ability to re-generate body parts.
With a plan to open 20 city centre and suburban medical centres during the next 3 years, Organs-R-Us has ambitions to become one of the leading health care companies in the USA within 5 years, and globally within a decade. Partnered with personal-pharmaceuticals empire Millennium, Organs-R-Us is addressing the spectacular, but as yet unmet, demand for personalized medicine.
At the heart of their business are two new revolutionary technologies: the ability to grow organs and body parts from stem cells engineered with your own DNA, and the ability to customize drugs and treatments to individuals, all done virtually while-you-wait.
Wealthy individuals have rushed to be investors in this ground-breaking new venture with promises of life-time leading-edge medical care.
(Read the full story in the detailed Analysis/Synthesis section – for subscribers only)
ANALYSIS >> SYNTHESIS: How this scenario came to be
Since the turn of the millennium, countries have been grappling with the ethics of using stem cells as building blocks to grow replacement organs and body parts. From idea to reality was an arduous road punctuated by differences in ethics and moral judgements.
Technological reality and possibilities far outpaced the markets ability to conceive the long-term possibilities.
2004: Breakthrough in growing replacement teeth
Over the past two years, research into stem cells and regenerative medicine have made significant progress on multiple fronts. Brain cells, nerve cells, pancreas and liver have been targeted for reaerch and commercialization.
A team at King’s College London is one of several worldwide attempting to grow replacement teeth. The tooth buds, or primordia, from which teeth grow consist of two cell types, epithelial and mesenchymal cells. As a replacement for the mesenchyme, Sharpe’s team used bone marrow stem cells from 6-week-old mice. They combined these with epithelial cells from the mouths of embryonic mice to create ‘artificial’ tooth primordia. After three days, the team transferred the engineered primordia into the kidneys of other mice, where they grew into intact teeth.
The technique is far from ready for people. For starters, extracting bone marrow is a painful surgical procedure, and it is likely that another base for mesenchymal cells will be found.
An even bigger obstacle will be finding a replacement for the embryonic cells used in the experiments. Using oral epithelial cells from human embryos would be impractical because of problems with immune rejection and the risk of cancer, not to mention the ethical issues.
The team says they are confident that there will be practical sources of adult stem cells – perhaps the teeth themselves – for replacing both the mesenchymal and epithelial cells.
2006: US changes attitudes to stem cell research
U.S. policy neared a tipping point, as controversial research on embryonic stem cells gained allies on both the scientific and political fronts over the past few years. The US was to be left out in the cold after more than 1000 scientists offshore to continue their research.
In a major turnaround, the US has finally changed federal policy. Stem cells continue to be at the center of astonishing announcements from labs worldwide. At issue was President George W. Bush’s 2001 policy, which restricted federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, slowing US contributions to the field. Now, the US is back in the race.
2008: First ‘cloned’ teeth grown in humans
It has been over a year since the first ‘stem’ teeth were implanted in humans and they are now fully grown. The leap from lab to the dentists’ surgery will be surprisingly fast. The first dentists are now being trained and will deliver the technology commercially within a year.
2009: Replacement human organs grown in animals
Your liver is failing. A doctor extracts stem cells from your bone marrow and injects them into a sheep fetus while it is still in the womb. When the sheep is born, much of the animal’s liver will consist of your own cells – ready to be harvested and given back to you.
This ‘dream therapy’ was realised this year, by a team at the University of Nevada, Reno. The animal-human chimeras they have created will one day yield new cells genetically identical to a patient’s own for repairing damaged organs, and perhaps larger pieces for transplantation.
2011: Major breakthroughs in stem cell organs
A research network in San Diego has announced that it has perfected the ability to use adult stem cells for specifically targeted organ replacement.
They have grown a basic pancreas, liver and heart on polymer frames which act as a recipient structure as the stem cells differentiate into the component cells of the new organ.
This dual breakthrough has advanced the commercial reality of replacement organs dramatically.
Scientists world-wide have heaped universal acclaim on their work. It is expected that participating scientist will soon create a new corporation to commercialize their research. Rumors eminating from the venture capital community suggest that they may adopt the name ‘Organs-Are-Us: We help you Grow-Your-Own’ that was famously coined by a Daily Telegraph cartoonist.
2012: Organs-R-Us IPO launches high-tech clinics
Hot science has suddenly become consumer mainstream. Yesterday’s IPO of Organs-R-Us, based in San Diego, has mapped out the future of medicine and hospitals. This is medicine with a difference – everything is personalised, from drugs based on your own DNA to the ability to re-generate body parts.
With a plan to open 20 city centre and suburban medical centres during the next 3 years, Organs-R-Us has ambitions to become one of the leading health care companies in the USA within 5 years, and globally within a decade. With a roll-out schedule based on ‘planned breakthroughs’, Organs-R-Us plans to deliver replacement body parts grown from adult stem cells with the following schedule: Today: teeth, 2012: pancreas, 2014: liver, 2016: heart.
Partnered with personal-pharmaceuticals empire Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Organs-R-Us is addressing the spectacular, but as yet unmet, demand for personalized medicine.
At the heart of their business are two revolutionary technologies: the ability to grow organs and body parts from stem cells engineered with your own DNA, and the ability to customize drugs and treatments to individuals, all done virtually while-you-wait.
Wealthy individuals have rushed to be investors in this ground-breaking new venture with promises of life-time leading-edge medical care. It was an IPO with a difference. Almost half of the investors were the future patients.
To wealthy investors this is a unique way of protecting future health and extending life. A minimum of 100 000 shares buys you ‘free’ VIP membership for life. Participants give Organs-R-Us complete access to their life story for promotional purposes but are promised the very best medical attention. It will certainly be in Organs-R-Us’s interest to keep life, and quality of life, in tip top condition.
Life companies are extending incentives to customers who participate in Organs-R-Us’s programmes. Pension providers are considering their options as Organs-R-Us’s success will have an inverse relationship to their performance.
It is expected that Organs-R-Us will have massive new competition during the next decade as the technology platforms are commoditized, skills proliferate and prices fall.
Warning: Hazardous thinking at work
Despite appearances to the contrary, Futureworld cannot and does not predict the future. Our Mindbullets scenarios are fictitious and designed purely to explore possible futures, challenge and stimulate strategic thinking. Use these at your own risk. Any reference to actual people, entities or events is entirely allegorical. Copyright Futureworld International Limited. Reproduction or distribution permitted only with recognition of Copyright and the inclusion of this disclaimer.