Scientists from University of Pittsburgh had found that the routinely discarded placenta might be a good source of stem cells. Their research findings were presented in the recent issue of the journal Stem Cells.
Researchers had found that a part of the placenta, which is the outer membrane of the amniotic sac have cells that are very similar to embryonic stem cells in their ability to express the two genes that make the embryonic stem cells unique in their capacities. Researchers also said that these amniotic epithelial cells could be turned into cells that can form liver, pancreas, heart and even lung cells.
AdvertisementPlacenta is regularly treated as a medical waste and researchers claim that their findings will now be able to help people convert a medical waste into a highly useful source for numerous treatments in the cases of transplantation and regeneration of cells. With millions of live births every year, sourcing cells from the placenta can be relatively easier than sourcing stem cells from any other parts of the human body.
Researchers feel that if the technology progresses suitably, then it might be possible to preserve the stem cells from amniotic epithelium for future emergencies of the newborn child. However the researchers also point out the fact that despite the similarities between the amniotic epithelial cells and the embryonic stem cells, these are not stem cells totally, as they will not be able to regenerate indefinitely. This is because some of these cells do not express the gene telomerase that is associated with normal replication of DNA and chromosomes associated with cell divisions.
Medindia on Stem cells: Further information
Stem Cells: These are undifferentiated cells that have the potential to regenerate itself and develop into all types of specialized cells types that may form various types of cells of the tissue from which it was taken.
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