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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Stem Cells Show Versatility, Power
20 June 2002 (All day)
Stem cells got a publicity boost on 20 June at a Minneapolis, Minnesota, press conference. One researcher reported on a new type of adult cell that appears to be as versatile as embryonic stem (ES) cells. Another reported progress in using embryonic stem cells to treat an animal model of Parkinson's disease.
Catherine Verfaillie, a blood stem cell researcher at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, described what could turn out to be a "universal" stem cell that isn't derived from embryos. Verfaillie calls them multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs). Her team harvested these cells from the bone marrow. The researchers found that MAPCs from rats, mice, and humans can be induced in test tubes to resemble cells in many types of bodily tissues, she said. Furthermore, if the cells are injected into early embryos, they later appear in "every organ" in the body--suggesting that they might be compatible with a body's every need.
Also featured was research spearheaded by mouse ES cell researcher Ronald McKay of the National Institute for Neurological Diseases and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland. His team cultivated dopamine-producing cells from mouse ES cells and injected them into rats with a version of Parkinson's disease. The treatment alleviated the animals' symptoms. Both reports appear in the 21 June issue of Nature online.
The evidence was there that dopamine-producing ES cells should treat Parkinson's disease in rats, but now "he's put it all together," says Ted Dawson of the Parkinson's Disease Center at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, of McKay's research. Reaction to Verfaillie's work was enthusiastic as well. She has shown that "the cells are stable and can contribute to a very broad spectrum of mature cell populations," says blood researcher John Dick of Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.