Doug Melton: Renewable Bodies

Dr. Douglas Melton is a leading biologist in cellular research. His ground-breaking work, which focuses on the the developmental biology of the pancreas, aims to provide diabetics with insulin-producing beta-cells. Dr. Melton is a founding member of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. He has been spearheading a collaboration between the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard University and the Boston In Vitro Fertilization clinic to develop human embryonic stem lines for research purposes. In addition to serving as the Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences at Harvard University, Dr. Melton works as the co-director of Harvard’s Stem Cell Institute and as a lead investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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Doug Melton: It’s what I see as a new era of medicine based in regenerative biology.  It starts from the fact, the amazing fact, that all of the cells in the body have this potential to make other kinds of cells.  This has led to the discovery of human embryonic stem cells and other stem cells, which we’d now like to use to replace tissue and body parts and use to understand the root causes of disease.  

I think you’ll see soon that that will also lead to the possibility of a healthier life, what I call healthy aging, where we’re not trying to fix you because you’ve had some disease or injury, but rather just replenish your body to maintain its young and vibrant state.  This will inevitably lead to the possibility of changing our bodies in a way that was previously unimaginable.