In 1998, UW–Madison developmental biologist James Thomson introduced the world to the first laboratory-derived human embryonic stem cells. His lab's accomplishment underpins the new field of regenerative medicine, and the all-purpose cells are used worldwide to test drugs, develop treatments for diseases and further our understanding of basic human biology. Twenty years later, UW–Madison remains at the forefront, an internationally recognized leader in stem cell research.
The Morgridge Institute for Research Presents
Immortal: An oral history of stem cell discovery
In November 1998, the journal Science published James Thomson's groundbreaking work on embryonic stem cells. There has been 20 years of progress since the initial discovery spawned a new field of research, and tremendous potential exists for the future. We reached out to the people who lived it, and they shared the experiences in their own words. This is their story.
As of late 2017, there were 18 clinical trials using embryonic stem cells in six countries.
The number of people — faculty, staff, students — working in labs conducting stem cell or regenerative medicine research on the UW–Madison campus.
The number of stem cell–related patents issued to the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation as of May 2018.