Prenatal ultrasound image of a 12 week gestation fetus during an amniocentesis session. (Image was captured using a GE Voluson 730 Expert Ultrasound with a 3D probe.)

Stem cells are more or less the body's blank-canvas cells that can produce virtually any others; they promise huge advances in medicine, perhaps one day even curing spinal injuries and more. There are problems, though: where to get the cells and how to do it under federal funding. A new approach to harvesting stem cells was recently deliniated by Anthony Atala and his colleagues at Wake Forest University School of Medicine's Institute for Regenerative Medicine, along with researchers at the Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. This team showed that amniotic fluid donated by pregnant woman contains cells that can develop into mature cell types including liver, brain,...

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