Nicole Le Douarin

Stem Cells For Immortality Publication date : September 20, 2007

What makes a given cell or tissue, among others, undergo a specific fate? Why does one cell take on a certain form, why does it develop as a specific organ part or body part? These are some of the central questions raised by developmental biology, and which the eminent scientist Nicole Le Douarin has dedicated her career to elucidating. Her contributions to our knowledge of the nervous system and of immunology have earned her worldwide recognition, equalled by few other French scientists.

Some cells are undifferentiated. While some of them can later become specialised, others may continue renewing themselves almost indefinitely. These latter cells, which are responsible for regeneration in certain animals, have allowed scientists to envisage tissue regeneration, organ repair and even organ creation. On account of such therapeutic applications, and the hopes they have raised, stem cell research has become one of the most advanced areas of study in developmental biology.

In this book, one of the world's greatest specialists in stem cell research takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the human body — even before it is organised and takes shape. How do these cells develop? What can we learn from them about the life and death of our organs? What may be expected from the manipulation of these cells, and what may it lead to? What hopes does it raise that cancer and certain degenerative diseases will be defeated?

By explaining contemporary biological research this book gives us an insight into the medicine of the future.

A renowned scientist explains a crucial area of biology and makes us discover the magic of cellular development. The author gives us a fascinating view of the technical advances, therapeutic hopes and ethical issues raised by stem cell research.

Nicole Le Douarin, a specialist in embryology, is the author of the very popular Des chimères, des clones et des gènes. She is an honorary professor at the Collège de France, the permanent secretary of the French Academy of Sciences, and a member of the American National Academy of Sciences. She was the recipient of the 1965 Prize of the French Academy of Sciences and of the 1995 Gold Medal of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).