Tuesday, March 29, 2005

US team finds alternative stem cell source

Despite an exaggerated claim in the second paragraph, this is an important story:

Guardian: American researchers reported this week that stem cells found in hair follicles can develop into nerve cells and might be useful in medical treatment.

With strict government restrictions on using stem cells from human embryos, scientists in the US are under pressure to find alternative sources of these cells, which can develop into different kinds of body tissues, from skin to liver or nerve.
The only restrictions I recall involve Federal funding; not having the state pay for something is hardly a 'strict restriction.' Be that as it may, while not yet conclusive, this finding is proimising:

In September, a team from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the medical endowment, and the Rockefeller University in New York found stem cells from hair follicles that grew hair, stretches of skin and sweat glands.

Three cheers for American ingenuity and determination!

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