Embryonic Stem Cells - Alternative Source Found

Amniotic fluid found source of pluripotent stems cells
Research announcement delayed seven years


Jan. 10, 2007 - With the U.S. House of Representatives rushing to require research that results in the death of human beings in their embryonic stage of life, a new report was published announcing a research breakthrough indicating a morally acceptable alternative supply of pluripotent stem cells is available and can be obtained from amniotic fluid. However the publication of the information has been apparently delayed for as long as seven years.
A paper published this week in the prestigious British stem cell research journal, Nature Biotechnology, indicates that embryo-like (pluripotent) stem cells can be isolated from amniotic fluid without any harm to human life. However, the Italian news agency ANSA quoted Paolo De Coppi, one of the report's authors, as saying that resistance from the scientific community in the U.S. resulted in the delay of this announcement for seven years.
According to ANSA, De Coppi said, "It took seven years to get our paper published . . . it was rejected four times. We had the impression that many of the criticisms raised (in rejecting the paper) were motivated by a resistance to the idea of finding an alternative to embryonic stem cells because the American scientific community fears restrictions on research with embryos.
�We could have had the discovery published sooner by opting to send our results to a less prestigious journal. But that way we would have lost credibility with the scientific community. Therefore, we decided to overcome the hostility,� De Coppi said.
Amniotic stems cells better than embryonic stem cells
Unlike adult stem cells, pluripotent stem cells found in embryos are undifferentiated and have the potential to develop into many different types of tissue.

Medical advances with stem cells from amniotic fluid would likely come faster than with those from destroyed embryos according to Scientific American. According to the lead researcher, Anthony Atala, director of Wake Forest's Institute of Regenerative Medicine, SA reported that �99 percent of the U.S. population could conceivably find genetic matches for tissue regeneration or engineered organs from just 100,000 amniotic fluid samples.�
Atala indicated that stem cells from amniotic fluid have two significant advantages over embryonic stem cells:
  1. No embryo would be harmed
  2. The stem cells from amniotic fluid do not develop into tumors the way embryonic stems cells do.
Curiously, one day before a scheduled vote on H.R.3, a bill to require federally sponsored research resulting in the destruction of embryos, the Congressional sponsors of the bill released a letter from Atala today supporting the bill.




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