LONDON Human embryos created specifically for medical research have been used for the first time to provide stem cells in a study conducted in US. Susan Lanzendorf and colleagues from the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine, Norfolk, Virginia, report in July Fertility and Sterility that the future production of human embryonic stem cell lines for therapeutic use is possible with the use of donated gametes.

Research on embryonic stem cells currently utilizes tissue from embryos created during fertility treatment that are not used and otherwise discarded. But Lanzendorf et al. aspirated oocytes from 12 donor women and inseminated them with frozen-thawed donor sperm from two men using standard IVF methods. They generated 110 embryos, of which 40 developed to the blastocyst stage following culture in sequential media (Fertil Steril 2001, 76:132-137).

Using immunosurgery techniques the inner cell masses were isolated from the blastocysts and were cultured for...

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