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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.



The Direct-to-Consumer Stem Cell Industry in the USby Pete ShanksJuly 15th, 2016There are more stem-cell clinics than anyone suspected, and it’s not clear that they are operating with proper supervision.
Resumed stem cell study by EditorialThe Korea TimesJuly 13th, 2016Stem cell research in Korea has been slow due to a data fabrication incident, but research has recently been approved.
Puffing Cryonics in New Scientist?by Pete ShanksJuly 13th, 2016New Scientist is a popular science magazine that sometimes prioritizes popularity over science.
Influential Scientific Journal Rips Effort to Loosen Stem Cell Research Rulesby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJuly 5th, 2016Proposed treatments have not received FDA approval due to inefficacy and safety concerns.
FDA should stand firm on stem-cell treatmentsby Editorial BoardNatureJuly 5th, 2016Regulation around stem cell treatments is critical, given that many of the treatments don't even work.
It's been 20 years since Dolly. Where's my clone?by Sharon BegleySTATJuly 5th, 2016Cloning some animals is much harder than cloning others.
'False Hopes, Sizable Profits' -- The Nation's Largely Unregulated Stem Cell Clinicsby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJuly 1st, 2016"The clinics use hope as a marketing tool. A weapon," writes Paul Knoepfler.
Unproven Stem Cell Clinics Proliferate in the U.S.by Dina Fine MaronScientific AmericanJune 30th, 2016570 websites advertise unproven therapies for sports injuries and conditions including autism, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Updates: The California Legislature and the Market in Human Eggsby Marcy Darnovsky Biopolitical TimesJune 30th, 2016The fertility industry-sponsored bill is opposed by a range of women’s health, reproductive justice, and public interest organizations.
On the 14-Day Rule and Other Limitsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 29th, 2016Speed limits are somewhat arbitrary but sensible; so is the 14-day rule for embryo research.
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