Researcher Discovers Ethical Stem Cell Alternative
Special Report - July 20, 2007
A biotechnology researcher in Japan reportedly has discovered a method of generating stem cells similar to those taken from embryos without requiring the destruction of human life. Shinya Yamanaka, a professor at Kyoto University, claims to have produced stem cells as versatile as human embryonic stem cells by manipulating the skin cells of laboratory mice back to the embryonic stage, according to the London Times. Yamanaka believes that he is only “a matter of months” away from producing a stem cell alternative that does not entail the ethical obstacles of embryonic stem cell research.
While the U.S. Congress and state governments push for taxpayer funding of research that involves the destruction of human embryos, non-embryonic stem cells continue to offer a host of treatments for patients. Recently, scientists at Wake Forest and Harvard universities created adaptable adult stem cells using the amniotic fluid that surrounds developing embryos in pregnant women. Researchers at the University of Minnesota and Stanford University have similarly generated stem cells from bone marrow that are capable of differentiating into liver, bone, and neural cells.
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