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Chicken Embryos Turn Blood Stem Cells into Brain Cells
Finding promises methods of using a person's own stem cells to treat nervous system damage

Betterhumans | March 21, 2005

Researchers have used chicken embryos to convert blood stem cells into brain cells, promising new methods of using a person's own stem cells to treat nervous system injuries and diseases.

The stem cells , hematopoietic stem cells, normally resupply the body with fresh blood and immune cells. They have also been proposed as a source of neural cells for use in repairing brain damage.

However, previous studies have found a low rate of differentiation, and there have been questions over whether differentiated cells were true neurons .

To explore such questions, Joel Glover of Norway's University of Oslo and colleagues placed adult bone marrow stem cells into the developing spinal cord of chicken embryos.

They found that the stem cells began expressing markers characteristic of neurons, and that about 10% of the cells showed characteristics of motor neurons.

The researchers therefore suggest that exposing the cells to the same cellular signals found in the embryos could allow the growth of new nerve cells from a patient's own bone marrow.


UK: MPs say lift ban on reproductive human cloning

The Observer | March 20, 2005
By Antony Barnett

The creation of a creature that is half-man/half-animal may be thought to be the stuff of a science fiction novel, but this week an influential group of MPs will recommend that the government considers overturning its ban on such experiments.

In a report into human embryo research in Britain, the commons science and technology committee will suggest that human embryos could be implanted into animals for research purposes. It will also say parents should be allowed to chose the sex of their child for 'social reasons' and that the cloning of human embryos should be allowed for medical purposes.

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