Scratching your head over where to find versatile but non- controversial stem cells to replace the embryonic kind? Keep on scratching. Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin have found that stem cells in the bulge of hair follicles seem to be able to differentiate into many kinds of cells and can multiply rapidly. Their results have been published in the journal Stem Cells.
The lead scientist, Dr. Maya Sieber-Blum, says: “We see the potential for cell replacement therapy in which patients can be their own donors, which would avoid ethical issues and reduce the possibility of tissue incompatibility.” Her colleagues have done some preliminary research on mice with spinal cord injuries. These cells, called epidermal neural crest stem cells, grafted into the spine and survived.
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