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Wednesday 23rd May 2018

Ethical stem cell lines

24th August 2006

20072006_stem_cell1.jpgAccording to US researchers human embryonic stem cell lines have been generated without embryos being destroyed.

The US team created the lines by removing single cells from embryos, a process that left them intact. Scientists believe stem cells may one day help to combat a range of diseases, such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, or to repair spinal cord injury

The researchers say this may provide a way of bypassing current US legislation and remove some of the ethical barriers to this field.  Under US law, federal funding is limited for research in which an embryo is destroyed.

Taking spare human IVF embryos, the researchers removed single cells from them, using the same procedure used for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), a technique that has been used in IVF so cells can be removed from the embryo and tested for genetic disorders. The team says this process leaves the embryo intact, enabling it to continue and grow into a healthy foetus.

Professor Robert Lanza, medical director of Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) in Massachusetts, US, and lead author on the paper, said that of the 16 embryos used, they developed two long-term stem cell lines, which were "genetically normal and able to generate all of the cell types of the body".

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