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Adult Stem Cell research

Stem cell research is built on promise but followed by controversy. Especially controversial are embryonic stem cells, drawn from embryos only a few days old. Embryonic stem cells have the ability to evolve into any type of cell in the body.

Mariusz Ratajczak, director of the stem cell biology program at the University of Louisville's Brown Cancer Center, has found adult stem cells drawn from bone marrow in mice may some day work as effectively as embryonic stem cells.

Dr. Mariusz Ratajczak

"They are very similar to embryonic stem cells and express similar markers and most important, in in-vitro cultures, they are doing the same things embryonic stem cells would do."

They're called very small embryonic like stem cells—or v-sel stem cells. In Ratajczak's discovery, the v-sel stem cells are isolated from the bone marrow and able to grow from cell clusters, allowing the cells to differentiate between organs.

Dr. Ratajczak continues

"It's our hope that it leads to the development in strategies to treat a number of diseases."

Although the study is years away from human clinical trials, Ratajczak says tissue regeneration could be one benefit. Another is avoiding ethical concerns and controversy fueled by embryonic stem cell research.

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