Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Adult Stem Cells Identified with Potential to Repair Muscle

According to the results of a study are published in the September issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology, for the first time using human muscle tissue, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Children's Hospital have successfully isolated a population of adult stem cells that could be used to treat muscle injuries and diseases such as heart attack and muscular dystrophy.

The cells are taken from blood vessels in a patient's injured or diseased muscle and can be easily sorted and proliferated. After the treating the cells, they would be re-injected, with no risk of rejection, to repair the damaged tissue.

This, of course, is another exciting development in the field of ASCR. One thing to note, however, is the use of the word "potential." We need to keep an even keel and not fall into the same hype trap as the hESCR crusaders. I am reminded of an up and coming athlete (football player, I think) some time back who was asked what he thought of the consensus opinion that he had the potential to be one of the best players in the league in just a few years. His comment was something along the lines that if someone has great potential that just means he hasn't done anything yet.

Intellectual honesty requires this kind of thinking when you hear about human embryonic stem cells showing promise in repairing heart damage in rats at the Center for Cardiovascular Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the University of Washington, in Seattle, as reported by the on line version of Nature Biotechnology last week.

But for those keeping track of the real (not potential) stem cell research treatment score (as of April 11):

ASCR - 73
ESCR - 0

[Submitted by e-mail]

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