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February 12, 2005

Beginning of the End for Embryonic Stem Cell Research?

Topics: Medicine

Supporters of expanded federal funding for embryonic stem cell (ESC) research were disappointed by President Bush's State of the Union Address, which indicated no softening of restrictions. Instead, he said he'd work to "ensure that human embryos are not created for experimentation." But those who support expanded government ESC funding because they believe it will bring medical breakthroughs have naught to fear. For there's a far more promising approach likelier to produce more benefits and much sooner.

That's because we're being flooded with exciting new developments from the alternatives to ESCs, called adult stem cells. Taken from a person's own body or from umbilical cords or placenta, these cells continue to be used to treat ever more diseases. Further, ASC research in humans and animals keeps biting away at the alleged trump card of ESC-backers, that only ESCs can be transformed into every type of cell in the body. Cardiologist Douglas Losordo's research lab at Caritas St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Boston

has now become at least the fourth to indicate ASCs can do just that.

Reporting their results in the February Journal of Clinical Investigation, they extracted stem cells from the blood stream that originated in the bone marrow, thereby saving patients the trouble and pain of direct marrow extraction. They found what they believe to be a heretofore undiscovered type of cell from three different human donors, which they then injected into the hearts of rats that had suffered heart attacks and subsequent -- formerly permanent -- damage

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Posted by Hyscience at February 12, 2005 4:32 PM



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