babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Sun Apr-25-10 11:27 AM
Researchers: Adult stem cells show more promise than thought
Research into stem cells of adults stirs hopes
Many researchers are coming to believe they can achieve as much using adult stem cells as using controversial human embryonic stem cells
BY FRED TASKER
A year after President Barack Obama eased restrictions on research into embryonic stem cells and pledged billions in new stimulus money for it, researchers are almost giddy with enthusiasm about progress in the field. They're confident stem cells will treat -- maybe someday cure -- heart disease, diabetes, spinal cord injury and other disorders.
But the excitement is not generated by stem cells harvested from human embryos.
Instead, researchers are coming to believe they can get results almost as good from adult stem cells taken from the patient's own bone marrow or belly fat, and even full-fledged adult cells from muscle tissue or skin.
``Adult stem cells have more flexibility than we thought
,'' (translation: we don't want to admit that embryonic stem cells show little to no promise to provide any cures.)
says Dr. Joshua Hare, director of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University of Miami Medical School. ``The embryonic stem cell might not be the most valuable property in actual therapy. When you're treating a heart attack, you might do better with an adult stem cell.''
``The embryotic stem cell is the prototype, the ultimate stem cell,`` Hare says. ``It has the greatest capacity to become any other type of tissue. It's essential to work with both kinds of stem cells.''
``Embryonic stem cells remain central to our plan,'' says Dr. Camillo Ricordi, who is studying both adult and embryonic stem cells as director of UM's Diabetes Research Institute. ``Everything we've applied to other kinds of cells we learned first by studying embryonic stem cells.''