A new source of stem cells has been discovered reported scientists Sunday afternoon. A readily available supply of these new cells, which are found in amniotic fluid, could solve the ethical problems that surround embryonic derived cells.
The amniotic stem cells are pluripotent, with the capacity to develop into many different types of cells including, nerve, liver, fat, blood vessel, muscle, and bone cells.
“These cells are easier to get, and from acceptable medical procedures [for example, amniocentesis] that are done on a routine basis,” said study senior author Dr. Anthony, director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
“This is another source of multi-potential cells,” added Paul, director of the University of South Florida Center for Aging and Brain Repair, in Tampa. “Because the cells can be accessed either post-birth or through amniocentesis, it’s possible that people could store those cells. If the cell lines that are created were available, then people could do some research on a non-embryonic source, which eliminates all the ethical and political issues.”
The January 7th issue of Nature Biotechnology has reported on the discovery of the cells, which are known as amniotic fluid-derived stem (AFS) cells.
The hope is that treatments or even cures for conditions such as spinal injury, stroke, liver failure, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer