Adult Stem Cells Continue to Deliver Breakthroughs
Citizen Link, September 5, 2007
A new type of adult stem cell in blood vessels that can be harvested from a patient has been discovered by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. A patient's disease or muscle injury could be treated with these cells. There is no risk of immune rejection since the stem cells are derived from the patients themselves.
Individuals who are suffering from some types of muscular dystrophy, various sports-related injuries, and heart muscle damaged by heart attack could potentially be treated say doctors.
Using adult stem cells harvested from patients' bone marrow, replacement heart valves and other heart tissue may be grown within the next three to five years said leading British heart surgeon Magdi Yacoub.
With the drawback of tissue rejection and replacement operations every 10 to 15 years, artificial heart valves or those taken from pigs is currently the only option for patients needing new heart valves. Using a patient's own stem cells, the growth of an entire replacement heart is the ultimate vision Yacoub has in mind.
“Both of these stories show the continued value of adult stem cells in research and in treating patients,” said Dawn Vargo, associate analyst for bioethics for Focus on the Family Action.
In contrast, no successful or safe therapies have been produced with the use of embryonic stem cells.