Epi-embryonic stem cells?

Researchers have provided clues about a potentially new source of human stem cells that are physically close to the actual embryo, but miles away from the controversy surrounding its use in research. Last night, at the linkurl:Keystone meeting;http://www.keystonesymposia.org/Meetings/ViewMeetings.cfm?MeetingID=786 on stem cells, linkurl:Ursula Manuelpillai;http://www.med.monash.edu.au/ob-gyn/staff/ursulam.html at the Monash Institute of Medical Research in Victoria, Australia presented a poster

By | April 1, 2006

Researchers have provided clues about a potentially new source of human stem cells that are physically close to the actual embryo, but miles away from the controversy surrounding its use in research. Last night, at the linkurl:Keystone meeting;http://www.keystonesymposia.org/Meetings/ViewMeetings.cfm?MeetingID=786 on stem cells, linkurl:Ursula Manuelpillai;http://www.med.monash.edu.au/ob-gyn/staff/ursulam.html at the Monash Institute of Medical Research in Victoria, Australia presented a poster in which they detail the potential of human amniotic epithelial cells (HAECs) in the inner membrane that protects the fetus during pregnancy. The researchers exposed HAECs to factors that nudge them to differentiate into cell types. Indeed, the cells displayed markers that suggest they differentiated into a variety of cells, such as astrocytes, neurons, hepatocytes, and pancreatic cells. "I?m not saying the cells are pluripotent, but they certainly have the markers of pluripotency," Manuelpillai told me. HAECs did not produce teratomas in mice testes -- an initially disappointing result, Manuelpillai said, since teratomas are characteristic of pluripotent cells. But upon further consideration, Manuelpillai noted that this inability might make them more useful for therapy down the road. In contrast to cells from umbilical cords, HAECs are easier to isolate and also divide more easily, and one membrane can yield 60 million cells -- significantly more than what one gets from umbilical cords, Manuelpillai said. She added that she and her colleagues have submitted the paper for publication, and plan to continue injecting the cells into diseased mice to test their therapeutic potential.

Popular Now

  1. Monsanto Buys Rights to CRISPR
    The Nutshell Monsanto Buys Rights to CRISPR

    The US agribusiness secures a global, nonexclusive licensing agreement from the Broad Institute to use the gene-editing technology for agricultural applications.

  2. How Plants Evolved Different Ways to Make Caffeine
  3. Thomson Reuters Predicts Nobelists
    The Nutshell Thomson Reuters Predicts Nobelists

    According to citation statistics, researchers behind programmed cell death pathways and CRISPR/Cas9 are among those in line for Nobel Prizes this year.

  4. ESP on Trial
    Foundations ESP on Trial

    In the 1930s, parapsychologist Joseph Banks Rhine aimed to use scientific methods to confirm the existence of extrasensory perception, but faced criticisms of dubious analyses and irreproducible results.

RayBiotech