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Medicine Science

Facial Bones Grown From Fat-Derived Stem Cells 106

Posted by kdawson
from the best-face-forward dept.
TheClockworkSoul sends in an article up at Scientific American, from which we quote: "Stem cells so far have been used to mend tissues ranging from damaged hearts to collapsed tracheas. Now the multifaceted cells have proved successful at regrowing bone in humans. In the first procedure of its kind, doctors at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center replaced a 14-year-old boy's missing cheekbones — in part by repurposing stem cells from his own body. To create the new bones, which have become part of the patient's own skull structure and have remained securely in place for four and a half months, the medical team used a combination of fat-derived stem cells, donated bone scaffolds, growth factors, and bone-coating tissue. The technique, should it be approved for widespread use, could benefit some seven million people in the US who need more bone — everyone from cancer patients to injured war veterans."
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Facial Bones Grown From Fat-Derived Stem Cells

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  • Re:Is there? (Score:3, Informative)

    by joocemann (1273720) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @11:39PM (#29781769)

    If I've read the literature right, embryonic stem cells are, in general, readily available and easily manufactured. Also, they are the best at forming to any cell type we would want.

    In contrast, adult stem cells are relatively specialized, meaning that they won't make just anything, but things that are somewhat similar.

    That is to say that adult stem cells have been immensely helpful, but we think that embryonic stem cells may be better.

    There are many research programs on embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells, and now induced pluripotent stem cells. All of these have many promising futures in science, yet only adult stem cells and IPSC are promising in the ever-so-influential and variable field of ethics/morality, especially those of fundamentalist origin. You are correct about the easy manufacture of embryonic stem cells. Growing stem cells is actually not hard at all and you can make relatively infinite numbers from one discarded embryo.

    On the contrary, IPSC circumvents not only the ethical issues of the field, but also many of the clinical concerns relating to transplantation, immune response, etc. Since IPSC can be derived from the patient's own tissues, the products IPSC therapies and procedures are much less likely to be rejected. For most adults, we don't have embryonic stem cells with our own DNA in it at all.

    Ultimately, I think it is way too soon to start determining which of these methods will serve best, though we can acknowledge the power of ethical values and the objection of many people to embryonic stem cells. You might find it interesting that many popular religions actually support embryonic stem cell research, though most interpretations of Christianity do not.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:15AM (#29781893)

    Americans of African descent invented the technique for preserving blood plasma, pioneered open-heart surgery, the advanced shoe lath, and a slew of peanut-derived products including paints, plastics, and dyes.

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