Stem Cells Discovered in Menstrual Blood
By Alison Motluk, NewScientist.com, November 15, 2007
A research team from Wichita, Kansas has made a novel discovery involving adult stem cells that have been derived from menstrual blood.
To prepare itself to take care of a fertilized egg, the uterine lining is rebuilt each month after it has been shed to provide a new medium for egg development. The process is impressive, with a new 5 millimeter thick lining developed in only 7 days. This is accomplished by literally, growing billions of cells.
Adult stem cells are found in abundance in the endometrium, or uterine lining. But despite the rich source, actually harvesting the cells is a similar process as is involved with other sources such as bone marrow: the process is invasive.
The research team in Kansas has discovered that menstrual blood contains these endometrial stem cells as well.
The cells show characteristic cell surfaces of stem cells, given the right environment, can differentiate into at least 9 different cell types, and can create copies of themselves without differentiating. These are all qualities that can be associated with existing stem cells as well.
Menstrual blood was taken form two women for the teams research purposes. Xiaolong Meng and his team conducted the study at a private research institute in Wichita, Kansas, called the Bio-Communications Research Institute. The team collaborated with Medistem Laboratories, Inc. (OTC BB:MDSM.OB - News) (Frankfurt:S2U.F - News in making the discovery. Their paper which is titled, "Endometrial Regenerative Cells: A Novel Stem Cell Population", has been published in the Journal of Translational Medicine. The paper can be viewed at www.translational-medicine.com/content/5/1/57
Medistem Laboratories, Inc. own the intellectual property rights to the discovery.
The menstrual blood derived cells doubled every 19.4 hours, marking a proliferation rate higher than the mesenchymal stem cells which are derived from cord blood. The researchers say that a few embryonic stem cell markers were observed in addition to the adult stem cell markers that were exhibited by the cells. One particular embryonic stem cell marker called Oct-4, which is considered a "master" marker, was observed.
Muscle, bone, fat, and nerve cells were among the nine different cell types that were created using the menstrual blood derived cells.