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Tony Oro: Stem cell therapies for incurable diseases

A new class of gatekeeper physicians is helping make scientific and ethical sense of stem cell and gene therapies that offer hope to many patients who once had none.

Illustration of human embryonic stem cells. | Science Source/Ian Cuming

Illustration of human embryonic stem cells. | Science Source/Ian Cuming

By last count, there are 5,000 genetic diseases in the human body.

A few are merely annoying, but far more are devastating and without cure. In the last decade, much popular attention has been focused on the potential for stem cells and gene therapies to cure these once-intractable diseases. While the promise is clear, Tony Oro cautions patience.

Oro is a dermatologist and associate director of the Center for Definitive and Curative Medicine at Stanford. He is a leading expert in the scientific and ethical dilemmas such therapies raise. He and many others say cures are close at hand, but there is still much to be determined before these therapies can be pronounced both effective and safe.

Join host Russ Altman and medical ethicist Tony Oro for an inspiring but cautionary look at the promise of stem cell and gene therapies.

You can listen to the Future of Everything on iTunes, Google Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher or via Stanford Engineering Magazine.

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