Carmel Valley stem cell expert says research field is at the ‘beginning of a revolution in science and medicine’

Dr. Larry Goldstein

By Joe Tash

When Larry Goldstein imagines the potential of modern stem cell science, he is reminded of a scene from the 1967 Academy Award-winning film The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft.

Hoffmans character, a recent college graduate named Benjamin Braddock, is chatting with an older man at a cocktail party. I just want to say one word to youjust one word plastics, the man tells Benjamin.

Goldstein, 57, a Carmel Valley resident and head of one of the nations premier stem cell research labs, sees a vast upside to his chosen field of research in terms of scientific advancement, treatment of devastating diseases, and economic prosperity, similar to the characters prediction for plastics.

Were at the beginning of a revolution in science and medicine, said Goldstein. Whats the hot business going forward? Man, its biological plastics. They can replenish themselves, you can make them do things, you can build stuff. Its incredible.

Its not unrealistic to think that over the course of the next several decades, that artificial organs will be built of materials made from stem cells, either fully or in part, he said.

Goldstein wears two official hats director of the UC San Diego stem cell program, and scientific director of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. As Goldstein explained it, his role with UCSD is to facilitate and remove barriers for investigators working on a number of different stem cell-related projects, while his work with the Sanford Consortium involves coordination with scientists from a number of different research institutions on Torrey Pines Mesa.

He also co-founded a biotech company, Cytokinetics, which is developing drugs based on stem cell science.

In an interview in his Sanford Consortium office, a glass-walled rectangle overlooking the Torrey Pines Gliderport, Goldstein talked about his work, advancements in stem cell research, and his views on higher education.

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Carmel Valley stem cell expert says research field is at the ‘beginning of a revolution in science and medicine’

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