One of the biggest hurdles in stem cell research involves the use of embryonic stem cells. While these stem cells have the greatest potential in terms of their ability to differentiate into many different kinds of cells in the human body, they also bring with them enormous ethical controversies. The extraction of embryonic stem cells involves the destruction of an embryo, which upsets and outrages some policy makers and researchers as well as a number of public members. Not only that, but actually obtaining them is a challenge in itself and one that has become more difficult in places such as the United States, where policies have limited the availability of embryonic stem cells for use.
Although researchers have focused on harnessing the power of adult stem cells, there have still been many difficulties in the practical aspects of these potential therapies. In an ideal world, we would be able to use embryonic stem cells without destroying an embyro. Now, however, this ideal hope may actually have some realistic basis. In recent medical news, there has been important progress in the use of embryonic stem cells.
Research for Ethical Embryonic Stem Cells
According to health news reports, a biosciences company claims to have derived embryonic stem cells without embryo destruction, which is exciting news for those against the use of embryonic stem cells. The company also hopes that this discovery will encourage policy makers to relax their laws around the use of stem cells so that research into vital disease treatments can progress. In the United States, government policies have virtually vetoed stem cell research and progress, which has frustrated many companies and organisations that are passionate about harnessing the power of stem cells to develop treatments or deadly and devastating diseases that affect large numbers of people around the world.
Using New Techniques
While previous research had shown that embryonic stem cells could be extracted from mouse embryos without resulting in embryo destruction, the newest research has shown similar results but in human embryos that were discarded from in-vitro fertilisation treatment. The technique used is called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. It involves the removal of one cell – a blastomere – from a cluster of approximately ten cells that make up an embryo in its earlier stages. Researchers then grew a stem cell line from just that one cell, thus leaving the embryo still ‘intact’ and capable of growing into a human being. In this instance, the cells extracted were pluripotent cells that are capable of differentiating into numerous cell types.
There are still many more tests and research that must be conducted to verify the safety and reliability of the procedure but it is indeed hopeful that funding can now increase for stem cell research. If you are an avid reader of health articles, you will probably be able to stay up-to-date on the latest developments related to this medical news. This newest research into embryonic stem cells holds promise and hope for appeasing the controversy around embryonic stem cell use and allowing for research to finally move forward with fewer challenges and controversies. For those who suffer from one of the many debilitating diseases and conditions that stem cell treatments may help or perhaps cure one day, this is welcome news.