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Scientists may be growing impatient, but President Obama has been rightly taking his time in addressing a campaign promise to lift the ban on federal funding for research using new lines of stem cells to be taken from human embryos. Even for strong backers of embryonic stem cell research, the decision is no longer as self-evident as it was, because there is markedly diminished need for expanding these cell lines for either patient therapy or basic research. In fact, during the first six weeks of Obama’s term, several events reinforced the notion that embryonic stem cells, once
An ‘antenna’ molecule, which is capable of guiding blood stem cells to their natural ‘home’, the bone marrow, has been discovered. The discovery could improve the efficiency of umbilical cord stem cell transplants. This type of transplant is not efficient when there are not many umbilical cord stem cells present, since few of them are able to reach the bone marrow from the blood.
Reported by Nature magazine, the discovery was made by David Scadden of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute in Boston. The stem cells, which normally renew the population of blood cells in the body
BRITISH face surgeons are to grow new skull, cheek and jaw bones on patients’ backs using their own stem cells.
The surgeons, from Barts and the London NHS Trust, hope to use the technique to help people whose facial bones have been destroyed by cancer or injury.
Four patients are awaiting the treatment, which the surgeons believe could eventually become a less risky alternative to face transplants. Two are cancer victims and two have had accidents.
The team, led by Iain Hutchison, will make the first attempt to grow replacement bone from a patient’s own stem cells in Britain.
The procedure involves constructing
Doctors hope a Nottinghamshire boy with leukaemia can undergo a stem cell transplant in May.
Roman Cusick, from Calverton, is currently recovering from chemotherapy.
If he is deemed to be well enough, he will receive cells from an umbilical cord from a German donor in a procedure at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
In February almost 200 people in Calverton helped took part in a saliva test to see if they were a suitable match.
Leukaemia occurs when large numbers of white blood cells take over the bone marrow, leaving the body unable to produce enough normal blood cells.
Human adult stem cells are being used to cure cirrhosis and other serious live diseases. Another 15 people in Brazil on the liver transplant waiting list have been treated by cellular therapy with encouraging results. “We are still in a strictly experimental phase” underlined Luiz Guilherme Costa Lyra, hepatologist and coordinator of the study performed by Sao Rafael di Salvador Hospital, collaborating with San Raffaele Hospital of Milan. “We must clarify that this therapy is not available for any patient outside of the experiment, so it is useless for anyone to write us asking to get