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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.



Breaking: New FDA Draft Guidance Views Fat Stem Cells As Drugsby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogDecember 22nd, 2014With a new document released, the FDA is more clearly on a path to regulate dubious stem cell clinics in the US.
Scientist Who Had Claimed Stem Cell Breakthrough Resigns From Japanese Research Instituteby Martin FacklerThe New York TimesDecember 19th, 2014A government-backed research institute accepted the resignation of one of its highest-profile scientists after she failed to replicate earlier stem cell research results.
Still No Stem Cells Via Easy 'STAP' Pathby David CyranoskiNatureDecember 18th, 2014The Japanese stem-cell biologist whose papers caused a sensation earlier this year before being retracted has failed to replicate the controversial experiments.
Biopolitical News of 2014by Pete Shanks, Jessica Cussins & Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesDecember 18th, 2014This is everything important that happened in biopolitics in 2014 (or close to it).
European Court Opens Door for Stem Cell PatentingGenetic Engineering & Biotechnology NewsDecember 18th, 2014The European Court of Justice ruled that human embryonic stem cell patents could be allowed if organisms can't develop into human being.
Top Biopolitical Times Posts of 2014by Jessica Cussins & Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 18th, 2014In 2014, CGS staffers and contributors posted 107 blogs in Biopolitical Times. These are twelve of our favorites.
California Launches $50 Million, Fast-Track Stem Cell Driveby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportDecember 11th, 2014The California stem cell agency approved a plan that will radically reshape its efforts to produce a widely available stem cell treatment, a goal it has not yet reached after 10 years of trying.
Stem Cells: The Black Box of Reprogrammingby David CyranoskiNature NewsDecember 10th, 2014Scientists have been reprogramming adult cells into embryonic ones for decades — but they are only now getting to grips with the mechanics.
The NFL Has a Problem with Stem Cell Treatmentsby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewDecember 10th, 2014Professional athletes are getting injections of stem cells to speed up recovery from injury. Critics call it a high-tech placebo.
Did NBC News Err On Key Part of Their Stem Cell Report?by Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogDecember 7th, 2014Overall this was a well-done report, but NBC made the bombshell claim that the FDA does not regulate unapproved stem cell “treatments.” This seems very difficult to believe.
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