Menstrual Blood Stem Cells Studied in Novel Discovery
CTV Globe Media, November 15, 2007
Researchers are saying that many types of human cells could be developed by a new type of stem cell that can be found in the blood that is shed during women's menstrual cycles.
During the endometrial phase of the monthly menstrual cycle, a new uterine lining grows after the old one has been shed. Stem cells have been suspected to be one of the biological mechanisms that help the cells of the endometrium, or uterine lining, to regrow at such a fast rate.
Recent discoveries have proven that adult stem cells are found in large quantities within the uterine lining. However, harvesting those cells has been another issue.
Menstrual blood has provided an answer for this dilemma. Endometrial cells are found in the menstrual blood according to a study that was recently published in the Journal of Translational Medicine.
The study was conducted using menstrual blood taken from two women, at the private research institute, the Bio-Communications Research Institute, in Wichita, Kansas. Xiaolong Meng led a team that studied the cells. The collaborated with Medistem Laboratories, Inc. (OTC BB:MDSM.OB - News) (Frankfurt:S2U.F - News), who own the intellectual property rights for the discovery.
With a behavior analogous to that of stem cells, the team found the following similarities:
The team says they found cells that behaved very much like stem cells:
-- They showed characteristic cell surfaces of stem cells.
-- Given the right environment, the cells were able to differentiate into many different cell types.
-- They easily copied themselves.
In contrast to mesenchymal cells, which are found in umbilical cord blood, the menstrual cells reproduced more rapidly. They doubled about every 19.4 hours.
Lung, heart, and liver cells, were only 3 of at least 9 different cell types that were developed from the menstrual blood cells by the research team.
Many possible uses could be in store for the cells type once cultured at a large scale. The researchers are calling the cells endometrial regenerative cells.
"We have many problems with our current methods of stem cell therapy, like those taken from bone marrow. They may be rejected by the recipient and/or have limited potential to generate new tissue," said Meng.
"Now we've found a possible new way to overcome these difficulties by using cells from menstrual blood."