Here’s something worth talking about: San Diego is considered one of the top locales in the nation for stem cell research.

In fact, just last March, four of San Diego research institutions – the Burnham Institute for Medical Research , the Salk Institute for Biological Studies www.salk.edu, The Scripps Research Institute and the University of California, San Diego – teamed up to form the nonprofit San Diego Consortium of Regenerative Medicine, all for the purpose of jointly pursuing stem cell research.

“Regenerative medicine” is one of those terms intended to be kind of innocuous. To say “stem cell” is to invite criticism by those who question from where and when the stem cells are harvested, and whether the research has any near-term benefits. Scientists expect stem cells, particularly embryonic stem cells, have the potential to become any number of cell types that could repair or even replace damaged human tissue.

The consortium is holding an all-day meeting next week, Oct. 20, at The Salk Institute to talk about some of the scientific, ethical and business challenges faced stem cell research. The audience is expected to be limited to those working in the life science industry and government officials. Requests for seats are being accepted here.

So what’s your take? Is San Diego fortunate to have this kind of research in its own backyard, or are San Diego scientists sticking their hands in a big ugly hornets nest?

JENNIFER McENTEE

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