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About Stem Cell Research


Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can develop into specialized tissue types. Researchers are investigating how to isolate and culture them, and control their differentiation, in the hope that they can be used to treat and understand a variety of diseases.

Stem cells can be derived from a number of cellular sources: adult, fetal, and placental tissues; umbilical cord blood; and embryos. Stem cells from these different sources have different properties.

Adult stem cells can be obtained from the bodies of adults and children, and until recently considered multipotent, which means that particular adult stem cells can develop into specific tissue types. Adult stem cells have been used in therapies such as bone marrow transplants for years.

Embryonic stem cells are found in early embryos. They are pluripotent, which means they can develop into all tissue types and be cultured as stem cell "lines." No therapies have been developed from human embryonic stem cells, which were first isolated in 1998.

In recent years, new methods of cellular reprogramming have enabled the derivation of so-called induced pluripitent stem (iPS) cells, which seem to have the full powers of embryonic stem cells but are from adult body cells.

Human embryonic stem cell research is controversial because it destroys embryos. Most investigations use embryos created but not used for in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. Some scientists have worked to derive human embryonic stem cells using a cloning technique called research cloning, which raises a separate set of troubling questions.



Letter Campaign Sought to Pressure FDA Action on Stem Cell Clinicsby Elie DolginNature MedicineAugust 6th, 2014Unregulated stem cell clinics are proliferating throughout the US.
STAP Stem Cell Controversy Ends in Suicide for Japanese Scientistby Karen KaplanLos Angeles TimesAugust 5th, 2014Sasai had said he was 'deeply ashamed' of the stem cell studies that were retracted in July.
Stem Cell Treatment Warnings After Australian Woman Dies in Russiaby Bridie SmithSydney Morning HeraldJuly 28th, 2014Risks of unproven stem cell treatments include allergic reaction or rejection of the cells by the patient’s immune system and the development of cancer, both of which can be fatal.
California's Stem Cell Scandal Gets Worseby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesJuly 18th, 2014Anyone who cares about the advance of medical science and about the promise of biotechnology should be dismayed by how badly the California stem cell agency has handled its latest conflict-of-interest scandal.
California Lawsuit Charges StemCells, Inc., with Putting Patients at Riskby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJuly 16th, 2014A former senior manager at StemCells, Inc. has filed a lawsuit alleging that “deficiencies in the company's cell lines put patients at risk of infection or death during clinical trials.”
Injured Argentine Winger Angel Di Maria may be Resorting to Unproven Stem Cell Therapyby Lenny BernsteinWashington PostJuly 11th, 2014Get ready for another explosion of interest in stem cell therapy, a now familiar occurrence every time a famous athlete undergoes the treatment.
Shameful Conflicts of Interest Involving California's Stem Cell Agencyby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 9th, 2014The former President of CIRM just took a job on the board of a company that benefited from the agency's grants, highlighting the conflicts of interest that have always bedeviled the agency.
Stem Cell Treatment Causes Nasal Growth in Woman's Backby Clare WilsonNew ScientistJuly 8th, 2014A woman in the US has developed a tumour-like growth eight years after a stem cell treatment to cure her paralysis failed.
Former CEO of California Stem Cell Agency Named to Board of Firm that Received $19 Million From the Agencyby  David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJuly 7th, 2014Alan Trounson has been named to the board of a company that has received $19.4 million from the agency he recently headed, raising fresh and serious questions about conflicts of interest at the state-funded research program.
On Meta-Research and the STAP Fiascoby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 7th, 2014The authors of the ballyhooed STAP papers have reluctantly agreed to retract them; meanwhile Stanford is launching a project to investigate the process of research.
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