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About Stem Cell Research


Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can develop into specialized tissue types. Researchers are investigating how to isolate and culture them, and control their differentiation, in the hope that they can be used to treat and understand a variety of diseases.

Stem cells can be derived from a number of cellular sources: adult, fetal, and placental tissues; umbilical cord blood; and embryos. Stem cells from these different sources have different properties.

Adult stem cells can be obtained from the bodies of adults and children, and until recently considered multipotent, which means that particular adult stem cells can develop into specific tissue types. Adult stem cells have been used in therapies such as bone marrow transplants for years.

Embryonic stem cells are found in early embryos. They are pluripotent, which means they can develop into all tissue types and be cultured as stem cell "lines." No therapies have been developed from human embryonic stem cells, which were first isolated in 1998.

In recent years, new methods of cellular reprogramming have enabled the derivation of so-called induced pluripitent stem (iPS) cells, which seem to have the full powers of embryonic stem cells but are from adult body cells.

Human embryonic stem cell research is controversial because it destroys embryos. Most investigations use embryos created but not used for in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. Some scientists have worked to derive human embryonic stem cells using a cloning technique called research cloning, which raises a separate set of troubling questions.



Stem Cell Bill to Thwart False ClaimsBangkok PostJanuary 10th, 2015In Thailand, stem cell treatment is allowed only for leukaemia and thalassaemia. But several clinics with unlicensed practitioners promote wild claims to customers.
CIRM 2.0by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 7th, 2015The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is attempting a "reboot" in an effort to accelerate the development of cures, though its critics remain skeptical.
Ten Years In, California's Stem Cell Program is Getting a Rebootby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesJanuary 3rd, 2015The new president of California's stem cell agency is planning to launch CIRM 2.0, a comprehensive reboot of the program.
Scientists Use Skin Cells to Create Artificial Sperm and Eggsby Ian SampleThe Guardian December 24th, 2014Researchers in Cambridge converted adult skin tissue into precursors for sperm and eggs.
Breaking: New FDA Draft Guidance Views Fat Stem Cells As Drugsby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogDecember 22nd, 2014With a new document released, the FDA is more clearly on a path to regulate dubious stem cell clinics in the US.
Scientist Who Had Claimed Stem Cell Breakthrough Resigns From Japanese Research Instituteby Martin FacklerThe New York TimesDecember 19th, 2014A government-backed research institute accepted the resignation of one of its highest-profile scientists after she failed to replicate earlier stem cell research results.
Biopolitical News of 2014by Pete Shanks, Jessica Cussins & Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesDecember 19th, 2014This is everything important that happened in biopolitics in 2014 (or close to it).
Still No Stem Cells Via Easy 'STAP' Pathby David CyranoskiNatureDecember 18th, 2014The Japanese stem-cell biologist whose papers caused a sensation earlier this year before being retracted has failed to replicate the controversial experiments.
European Court Opens Door for Stem Cell PatentingGenetic Engineering & Biotechnology NewsDecember 18th, 2014The European Court of Justice ruled that human embryonic stem cell patents could be allowed if organisms can't develop into human being.
Top Biopolitical Times Posts of 2014by Jessica Cussins & Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 18th, 2014In 2014, CGS staffers and contributors posted 107 blogs in Biopolitical Times. These are twelve of our favorites.
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