When embryonic stem cells were first found, they had been a quite sharp double edged sword. Embryonic stem cells have the ability to turn into any cell in the body – they are pluripotent, as compared to the multipotent human adult stem cells.
However, harvesting them indicates the destruction of an embryo, and despite the fact that they are only taken from embryos that would have been destroyed anyway, the ethical stem cell debate remains. Scientists have come to answers for this dilemma significantly quicker than ethicists, even though, and numerous new sources of adult stem cells have been identified.
There have even been approaches to turn far more mature adult stem cells back into their far more versatile, younger versions. Here we look at some of the new developments in adult stem cell cures and sources.
1 of the newest sources of human adult stem cells is also 1 of the most amusing, and has created for some intriguing news headlines over its period of reporting. Biopsies from human testicles have yielded pluripotent cells, even even though they are from human adult stem cells.
This discovery has had extra value, as it creates a source of adult stem cells for stem cell therapy from a patient’s personal body, removing the need to have to take immunosuppressant drugs as is occasionally the case with transplants. The cells have been reported as having the very same therapeutic possible as embryonic ones do.
The discovery was made at the University of Tuebingen in Germany, where scientists utilised numerous chemicals to turn them into “skin, structures of the gut, cartilage, bone, muscle and neurons”, says Thomas Skutella, the adult stem cell research team’s leader. The researchers also reassure patients that the testicle biopsy process is no more painful than a routine skin biopsy.
Another new source of stem cells that have pluripotecy is not from an embryo itself, but fairly close by – researchers at Wake Forest University College of Medicine have isolated stem cells from amniotic fluid. These cells have been painstakingly separated from the rest of the amniotic fluid cells surrounding fetuses in utero, without any disruption to the fetus.
Stem cell cures could come from these cells, enabling stem cell therapy for stroke, injury recovery, and stem cell therapy for parkinson’s, as well as plastic surgery augmentation.
Stem cells that are potentially pluripotent have also been discovered in a considerably more plentiful supply, where collecting them poses definitely no threat to embryos – in the menstrual blood of women. This research was carried out at Keio University in Japan by Dr Shunichiro Miyoshi.
The team had been able to create heart cells from the human adult stem cells collected, but it has not however been determined whether or not they can really form cells from the three primary types of tissue in the body.
Stem cell therapy could also one day be carried out with yet another currently discarded human tissue source – children’s primary teeth.