30 enero 2007


A team of researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Harvard University School of Medicine recently published a report on a new development in the ever growing field of stem cell investigation. This study reported on the group’s research on stem cells isolated from amniotic fluid. It was found that these “amniotic fluid-derived stem” (AFS) had the ability to transform into many different tissue types found in the body.

These cells do not appear to present the risk of developing tumors. In contrast, the growth of embryonic stem cells is erratic and uncontrollable to the extent that they will form tumor cells. AFS have not shown any predisposition toward malignant transformation. Obviously this is a major advantage for AFS.

“We’ve shown the cells can grow into nerve, blood vessels, liver cells, cartilage, bone and cardiac muscle,” says Anthony Atala, head of the team of 80 physicians and researchers which isolated and tested the cells at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, US.

“Our hope is that these cells will provide a valuable resource for tissue repair and for engineered organs as well,” said Anthony Atala. “It has been known for decades that both the placenta and amniotic fluid contain multiple progenitor cell types from the developing embryo, including fat, bone, and muscle,” said Atala. “We asked the question, ‘Is there a possibility that within this cell population we can capture true stem cells?’ The answer is yes.” The results reported represent a breakthrough in stem cell investigation.

AFS can be collected via amniocentesis, which involves sticking a needle into the amniotic sac and removing fluid. Even more encouraging is the finding that this type of stem cells can also be recovered from the placenta at the time of delivery, thus forgoing the risk of an invasive procedure to obtain the cells.



Un resumen en español.

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