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Adult stem cells are safer (not just for embryos)

October 26, 2009

The propensity of embryonic stem cells to produce cancerous tumors after implantation is often swept under the rug. New research discussed at Science Daily suggests there are benefits to potential therapies derived from adult stem cells (the excerpt below did not use “adult” and “embryonic” labels for whatever reason so I added them):

Results showed that immature (undifferentiated) [embryonic] stem cells are more likely to form tumors than mature ones [i.e. adult stem cells]. The transplantation of “safe” [adult] cells into mice with spinal cord injuries resulted in the formation of new neurons, while “unsafe” [embryonic] cells sped recovery for a short period but ultimately formed tumors.

Proponents of embryonic stem cells tout the totipotency of ESCs as the decisive factor that renders ESCs of superior therapeutic value. Perhaps the mere pluripotency of ASCs will in fact allow be what ultimately allows workable therapies to be developed from stem cells.

(Cross-posted at Southern Appeal)

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