Most people are so embroiled in the embryonic stem cell controversy, they don’t realize that adult stem cells can be used to rebuild human tissue. This research should proceed full speed ahead and not be caught up in arguments about fetal tissue. Failure to do so will result in millions of lives lost that could have been saved.
In some cases, adult stem cells have been shown to be more effective that embryonic stem cells. People need to do some reading and get their heads cleared up on this. Every day I talk to someone who is totally confused by political diatribes on the issue. Science is being systematically distorted by political agendas and this leads directly to preventable death and disability.
Because hematopoietic (blood forming) stem cells (HSCs) can restore and maintain blood formation following transplantation into immune deficient hosts, growth of HSCs in culture is important for many clinical applications. Previously, researchers in Sweden used a gene therapy technique to add a growth gene to embryonic stem cells to get adequate growth in culture. According to the authors, however, “HSCs of early embryonic origin, including those derived from differentiated embryonic stem cells, are inefficient in engrafting adult recipients upon transplantation.” The researchers have now shown that adding the same growth gene, Lhx2, to adult bone marrow stem cells allows unlimited growth of the cells. These adult stem cells efficiently rescued immune-compromised mice and generated all blood cells.