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Biotech Science

'Plentiful' Non-Embryonic Stem Cells Found 489

An anonymous reader writes "CNN reports that scientists at Harvard and Wake Forest have discovered a 'plentiful' non-embryonic source for stem cells, as well brain, liver, and bone cell types as well. The cells, found in amniotic fluid, can be harvested without harm to the donor or the donor's unborn child. While there's no proof that amniotic stem cells are as potent as embryonic stem cells, scientists are hopeful that this will be a huge step forward for the field of stem-cell research."
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'Plentiful' Non-Embryonic Stem Cells Found

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  • Re:Ethic issues (Score:4, Informative)

    by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @06:18AM (#17506086)
    No. Religion has no bearing on ethics. It would be relevant to questions of religious morals, but ethical questions shouldn't have anything to do with religion.
  • Re:Ethic issues (Score:3, Informative)

    by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @07:34AM (#17506484)
    > The required action is not sampling (also known as amniocentesis), but rather draining the whole amount of fluid out of the uterus.

    That is simply not the case. From TFA which you clearly didn't read:
    They reported they were able to extract the stem cells without harm to mother or fetus...

    Nice troll, though. I'll expect to be hearing this kind of ignorant FUD from Pat Robertson Real Soon Now(tm).
  • Re:Ethic issues (Score:2, Informative)

    by Down_in_the_Park ( 721993 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @08:44AM (#17506892)

    It's quite hard to extract relevant amounts of stem cells from few drops of fluid.
    Unless you just need a cell or two, I would say you need to drain much more that few drops.
    Not really, there are 10 to 1000 cells per ul (microliter) of amniotic fluid and if you take 100 ul, you have already a significant amount, as they do grow (become more), when you cultivate them under proper conditions
  • Re:The spin (Score:5, Informative)

    by smoker2 ( 750216 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:06AM (#17507034) Homepage Journal
    No, it's not a belief, it's a fact. An embryo needs to be fertilised before it even has the chance of becoming a child. But even a fertilised embryo is not a child.
    An embryo is a fertilised egg. So by definition, it does not need to be fertilised.

    An embryo has the capability to develop into a viable child, but even that is not guaranteed.

    Does the average person also believe that a woman is "killing babies" when she menstruates? I don't think so.
    Mainly because menstruation is the bodys way of expelling unfertilised eggs !

    It's a good thing you don't have to be a scientist to procreate, otherwise you wouldn't exist.

  • One big problem (Score:2, Informative)

    by moracity ( 925736 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:54AM (#17507454)
    Drawing amniotic fluid is extremely risky to both mother and fetus. That is why amniocentesis is only done if absolutely necessary. My wife had one around 20 weeks gestation. Not only is the procedure extremely painful, she went through two weeks of uterine cramping. She had to take two weeks off work to recover.

    Poking a hole in the uterus of a pregnant woman is not something to take lightly. This article makes it seem like a trvial procedure, which is certainly is not.
  • by Jess (geek-chick) ( 896411 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:26AM (#17507830) Homepage
    When I was pregnant with my daughter, I knew from the start I wanted to donate the umbilical stem cells. It wasn't an easy search to find somewhere that would take them. All the advertising toward pregnant women are for banking the stem cells. They scare parents into thinking their child's stem cells could be used for a cure on the chance the child develops a disease. I think this is a horrible practice to do on parents, most of whom probably are just throwing their money away in the belief it could save their child.

    None of the hospitals in my state accept cord blood donations, nor are their any cord or blood banks here. I found only one cord bank that accepts donations from out of state (their name escapes me), and at no charge to my doctor, the hospital, or me. From what I've read, I know that the cord blood stem cells aren't able to be used like embryonic stem cells, but since they were just going to be destroyed anyway, why not donate them?
  • by anomaly ( 15035 ) <tom.cooper3NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:48AM (#17508062)
    For what it's worth, I agree with you that most people are not passionate about stem cell research. It irritates me that when most people talk of stem cell research they are focusing on embryonic stem cell research. As others have noted, it's not helping anyone these days, and adult stem cell research *is* helping MANY MANY people. I'm hopeful that this recent discovery about amniotic stem cells will kill the debate and people will stop trying to do medical research on *all* products of conception.

    I'm not sure that I agree with you about people don't want that right taken from them. Recent surveys show that the majority of Americans find abortion unacceptable for themselves but feel that there is some need for it to be available. Most seem to want to protect the right of others to have abortion.

    The following numbers come from recollection - frankly I'm too busy this morning to go look up the actual numbers, but this is pretty close to what I've been reading on this issue:

    The number of Americans that think abortion is a bad thing is something like 80+% The number that feel it should be illegal is substantially smaller, but the bottom line is about 10% want it legal under every possible circumstance, about 10% want it illegal in every circumstance, and the other 80% of the population is split just about down the middle with varying circumstances determining the legality.

    Essentially about half of the US wants it illegal under some circumstances, and about half of the US wants it legal under some circumstances.

    I tire of the meme that a 'religious minority controls the government.' That's crap. If it was true, there are lots of things that would be handled differently.

    The fact is that there are a lot of people who disagree with the liberal view that abortion should be legal for all women. Most of those people are not passionate advocates of that position, but when the issue comes up, they stand for what they believe. This is the phenomenon of the "values voters."

    The religious minority of which you speak is merely the 'tip of the spear' to speak in military parlance. You see them, the politicians feel them because of their platforms, *and* because of the values voters. Policies are made as a result.

    That abortion is still legal in the US shows that there are many near silent people who share your view, and the politicians feel their presence on election day, too.

  • by foniksonik ( 573572 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @12:08PM (#17509126) Homepage Journal

    The article on New Scientist [newscientist.com] clearly states that the amniotic stem cells can be taken from the placenta after delivery and placed in cryogenic storage and then replicated easily within 36 hours to become a plentiful source of these cells....

    So all the comments about the dangers of taking fluid during pregnancy are mis-informed based on the original link apparently... sounds like bias from cnn editors.

    This is a great new discovery and should certainly be explored fully before being discounted because it doesn't involved the destruction of embryos to accomplish new science.

  • by Jess (geek-chick) ( 896411 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @01:51PM (#17510776) Homepage
    I had to do some digging, but I believe it was with CryoBanks International [cryo-intl.com]. I called the toll free number, and was sent a questionaire asking about both of the baby's family health histories. Once I sent it back, I received a packet to bring for collection at the hospital. They even sent a courier to pick it up after the doctor collected it.

    I just wish more places were available for donation. Hell, I'd take just one place in my state.
  • Doofus (Score:2, Informative)

    by YetAnotherBob ( 988800 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @04:02PM (#17512812)
    Read the article. They got the amniotic fluid during/after delivery. there is about a gallon of it released. There is no danger to the baby. It's already been born. Any hospital could provide liters and liters of the stuff every day. Too bad they still don't know how to really use it.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."