What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Using Stem Cells to Grow New Organs and Test Better Drugs

January 19, 2013, 12:40 PM

What's the Latest Development?

Using a special class of stem-cell known as pluripotent cells, medical technology companies are taking innovative risks. They have hopes of revolutionizing drug testing methods and creating a new field of treatment called regenerative medicine. The British company AstraZeneca, which will buy its pluripotent cells from the Wisconsin-based Cellular Dynamics, plans to use the cells to find molecules that encourage non-pluripotent stem cells to turn into mature tissue. "Such molecules could act as drugs that coax damaged tissue to heal itself."

What's the Big Idea?

Another trick made possible by pluripotent cells is to derive them from patients with specific ailments—particularly ailments with a genetic component—and then nudge the induced cells into becoming the type of cell afflicted by that ailment. "George Daley, of Harvard University, is one of the most enthusiastic explorers of these 'disease in a dish' models. In 2008 he created stem-cell lines from people with ten different conditions, including Down’s syndrome, juvenile diabetes and Parkinson’s disease." Such research, while currently in its infancy, could one day bring new drugs to market. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at The Economist


Using Stem Cells to Grow Ne...

Newsletter: Share: