August 9, 2005
Placenta May Yield Alternative to Embryonic Stem CellsTopics: Stem Cells
University of Pittsburgh researchers have discovered that one type of cell in the human placenta has characteristics that are strikingly similar to embryonic stem cells in their ability to regenerate a wide variety of tissues. Unlike embryonic stem cells, which are obtained only by destroying human embryos, amniotic epithelial cells can be extracted from the same placentas that now are routinely discarded after birth. So in many cases, they could be a non-controversial alternative to embryonic stem cells (Amniotic epithelial cells, unlike embryonic stem cells, cannot live forever, so therapies based on them will depend on regularly harvesting cells from discarded placentas. But with about 4 million births a year, that shouldn't present a problem).
Posted by Hyscience at August 9, 2005 4:08 PM
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