Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Stem Cells 

Big news today on the stem cell front:
Injections of stem cells derived from aborted fetuses helped mice regain mobility after spinal cord injuries, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

The study is the latest research in rodents to show promise for the use of stem cells to treat damaged spinal cords. Researchers hope the technology one day will help people who are paralyzed recover movement.

Stem cells are immature cells that have the potential to turn into different kinds of cells and tissues. There are various sources, from bone marrow to fetal tissue to embryos. Use of embryonic cells is controversial because some consider it immoral to destroy an embryo to get the cells.


Researchers at the University of California at Irvine injected the cells into mice who had damage to the lower part of their spines and had lost movement in their hind legs.

Within six to eight weeks, the mice "were walking fairly normally. They are not 100 percent ... but we have improved them to a level that you can actually see," said Brian Cummings, the study's lead author.

The mice "not only recover stepping, but they recover coordination between front limbs and hind limbs, and they recover the ability to raise their tail while they are walking," he said.

With Iraq not getting any better, the Katrina disaster, and now sinking poll numbers, will Bush sign a stem cell Bill, to help improve his image? I don't know a better way (other than resignation) for him to do that.


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