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Fallopian Tubes a Source of Stem Cells

BBC News reports that researchers in Sao Paulo, Brazil have discovered that fallopian tubes are an abundant source of mesenchymal stem cells. Because fallopian tubes normally are discarded during surgeries such as hysterectomies, they may be good source for non-controversial donor cells for regenerative medicine. In addition, the researchers anticipate that the cells could be useful for understanding and treating fertility problems. The researchers’ findings were published in the Journal of Transitional Medicine.

Mesenchymal cells are immature cells that have the potential to become a variety of the body's tissues, like muscle and bone. Current viable sources for mesenchymal stem cells include umbilical cords, menstrual blood, teeth and fat tissue. In the lab, the scientists were able to multiply the harvested stem cells and then coax them to grow into apparently healthy muscle, fat, cartilage and bone cell lines. The article reports that it will take more time and research before cells like these could be given to patients.

 

Stem cell expert Stephen Minger, of Kings College London, said, "This is another promising source to add to the list of so-called 'ethical' sources of stem cells."

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