Monday, April 02, 2007

No embryos were harmed in this stem cell experiment

British team grows human heart valve from stem cells | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited:
"A British research team led by the world's leading heart surgeon has grown part of a human heart from stem cells for the first time. If animal trials scheduled for later this year prove successful, replacement tissue could be used in transplants for the hundreds of thousands of people suffering from heart disease within three years."

Read the article and you find that Prof. Yacoub's team in London is using stem cells from bone marrow. As I have commented elsehere, the furor over embyonic stem cell research has more to do with keeping the murder of babies via abortion legal than with the needs of medical research. Stem cells from umbilical cords an placentas are readily available from the constant stream of medical waste, as are stem cells from adults which can be harvested without harm from fat, including bone marrow. In all the real world research I have ever seen, such sources yield better results. Stem cells from embryos tend to produce unstable results.

The article notes that growing a heart valve from the patients own stem cells might take a month producing a perfect tisssue match, but that tissue banking might serve the needs of most patients in producing close, but not perfect, matches.

My readers may recall Dr. Lima in Portugal (December 6, 2004) who has been getting results in repairing damaged nerves by using the patients own nerve stem cells from their noses. Similar work is underway in China and elsewhere.


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