Monday, February 26, 2007

Though One Study Doubted, Adult Stem Cell Research Still as Effective

Minneapolis, MN
( -- Media outlets over the weekend trumpeted a new analysis of an old study about adult stem cells that says they show similar promise as embryonic stem cells. Though the analysis places possible doubts on one study, many others show that adult stem cells and germ cells can be just as effective as embryonic stem cells without the moral problems of destroying human beings for research purposes. A panel of experts commissioned by the University of Minnesota examined 2002 research by Catherine Verfaillie saying that adult stem cells taken from bone marrow can grow into an assortment of tissues that can be used in treatments. According to an AP report, the panel said that the study was "significantly flawed, and that the interpretations based on these data, expressed in the manuscript, are potentially incorrect." It did not say whether the conclusions were wrong, only that they may possibly be invalid. Verfaillie, who has acknowledged that parts of the study use some incorrect data but says the conclusions the study drew are still valid. But other studies have shown similar results to Verfaillie's. Researchers at Tufts University in February 2005 said they used specialized cell-sorting machines to obtain different types of adult stem cells from the bone marrow of three donors. They turned out to be MAPCs. Tests on the cells showed that they appear to be capable of changing into the many varied types of cells that make up the human body -- a potential that has some scientists saying embryonic stem cells should be used despite the destruction of human life. Once inserted, some of the cells became new heart muscle and tissue, as adult stem cells have done before in numerous successful experiments. However, the cells also turned into new blood vessels to support the ailing hearts. Read the complete story.