Two steps forward, one step backwards seems to be the theme of adult stem cell research. As part of the forward march, researchers announced this month that baby teeth and adult fat could become sources of stem cells to cure a variety of ailments. Scientists at South Australia’s Royal Adelaide Hospital told the media that the pulp in teeth could be used to cure Parkinson’s disease or to grow organs and avoid the need for transplants. And at Stanford University in California, researchers found that stem cells derived from the belly fat of rats could be coaxed to heal skull fractures. Clinical applications in humans are far away, but since baby teeth and belly fat are abundant raw materials in both the US and Australia, the hopeful news was widely reported.
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