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August 18, 2005

Researchers make 'embryonic-like' stem cells from umbilical cord blood

Topics: Medicine

A breakthrough in human stem cell research, producing embryonic-like cells from umbilical cord blood may substantially speed up the development of treatments for life-threatening illnesses, injuries and disabilities.

Prior to this new development, research has so far had to rely upon so-called adult cells found in blood and bone marrow from birth onwards or cells grown from embryos. The new type of cell detected by the a trans-Atlantic research team working with Drs Randall Urban, Larry Denner and Ronald Tilton from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, harnesses the benefits of both. They appear to have found a unique group of cells that bring together the essential qualities of both types of stem cells for the first time

The discovery provides medical researchers and physicians with an ethical and reliable source of human stem cells for the first time. Acquiring stem cells from embryos also has major limitations because it is difficult to obtain enough cells to transplant as well as getting the right tissue type for the patient," Using cord blood gets over that obstacle because more stem cells can be produced, and, with a global birth rate of 100 million babies a year, there is a better chance of getting the right tissue type for the many patients out there waiting for stem cell therapy. For example, there is a far less likelihood of such cells being rejected when they are transplanted into people with liver disease.

These findings may bring renewed hope to people awaiting treatment for a range of serious illnesses such as diabetes, alzheimer's disease, stroke, and multiple sclerosis.

Cross posted at NewHopeBlog

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Posted by Richard at August 18, 2005 10:35 PM

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