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Human stem cell research

Major events during 2012

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News items:

  • 2012-JAN-18: Breakthrough in umbilical cord adults stem cells: A research study successfully induced umbilical cord adult stem cells to develop into oligodendrocyte cells. They help to insulate nerve cells in the central nervous system. This may eventually lead to the development of new treatments for spinal cord injuries and diseases of the nervous system like multiple sclerosis. James Hickman, a University of Central Florida bioengineer and leader of the research group said:

    "This is the first time this has been done with non-embryonic stem cells ...We're very excited about where this could lead because it overcomes many of the obstacles present with embryonic stem cells."

    According to Science Daily:

    "Oligodendrocytes produce myelin, which insulates nerve cells, making it possible for them to conduct the electrical signals that guide movement and other functions. Loss of myelin leads to multiple sclerosis and other related conditions such as diabetic neuropathy." 3,4

  • 2012-APR-12: Stem cells have been genetically engineered to fight HIV: A research team in UCLA has been able to demonstrate that stem cells can be engineered to form immune cells that target HIV and suppress the virus in living tissues. Scott G. Kitchen, an assistant professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine said:

    "We believe that this study lays the groundwork for the potential use of this type of an approach in combating HIV infection in infected individuals, in hopes of eradicating the virus from the body. ... We believe that this study lays the groundwork for the potential use of this type of an approach in combating HIV infection in infected individuals, in hopes of eradicating the virus from the body." 5

  • 2012-MAY-12: Lung stem cells found: A team lead by Dr. Piero Anversa, director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston, MA, believe that they have found the first human lung adult stem cell. This discovery may eventually lead to new treatments from COPD and other lung diseases. 6

  • 2012-JUL-31: Status of stem cell in human treatments: There are only two clinically approved treatments using stem cells; both use adult stem cells. One is hematopoietic stem cell transplants for leukemia and other blood diseases. The other involves skin grafts grown from stem cells for burn treatment. Various "... therapies for cardiovascular and neurological diseases, and treatments to repair damage to the eye, spine, and cartilage are all making their way through trials." The vast majority of these involve adult stem cells. 2

  • 2012-OCT: Regenerating thyroid gland: Research on animals has shown that the thyroid function can be restored in animals using stem cells. Nine mice had their thyroid gland rendered inoperative by the use of radioactive iodine. They were then treated with stem-cell derived thyroid cells. Eight had complete return to normal thyroid levels.: 1
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Related essays on this web site:

Cloning and stem cell research are unrelated lines of research. However, they both start with an ovum and initially use some of the same techniques.

bulletWhen does human personhood begin?
bulletHuman cloning
bulletPre-implantation genetic diagnosis
bulletTherapeutic cloning

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References used in the above essay:

  1. Mary Shomon, "Scientists Able to Regenerate Thyroid Using Stem Cell," About.com, 2012-OCT-15, at: http://thyroid.about.com
  2. Paul Diehl, "Are Stem Cells Delivering on Their Potential Therapeutic Benefits?," About.com, 2012-JUL-2012, at: http://biotech.about.com/
  3. Regina Bailey, "Umbilical Cord Stem Cell Study Breakthrough," About.com, 2012-JAN-18, at: http://biology.about.com/
  4. "Umbilical cord stem cells converted into brain support cells," Science Daily, 2012-JAN-19, at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/
  5. "Engineered stem cells seek out and kill HIV in living mice," Science Daily, 2012-APR-12, at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/
  6. Debroah Leader, "Discovery of Lung Stem Cell Offers New Hope for COPD treatment, at: http://copd.about.com/

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Useful resource:

Science Daily provides a free subscription to daily and weekly email newsletters. See "Free Subscriptions" at the bottom of Science Daily's home page at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/

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Site navigation:

 Home > Morality > Stem Cells > here

or Home > Hot topics > Stem Cells > here

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Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
First posted: 2014-FEB-01
Latest update: 2014-FEB-01
Author: B.A. Robinson

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