Researchers Report Stem Cell Work
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SINGAPORE (AP) _ Scientists in Singapore say they have grown human stem cells on human muscle and tissue instead of the more common method using mouse cells in a lab dish.
The development could open the door for speedier approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in human clinical tests involving stem cell therapies, said officials with ES Cell International, which reported its breakthrough in a scientific journal.
Human embryonic stem cells are master cells that can grow into almost any tissue in the body. Scientists hope to use them one day to cure a variety of diseases.
Typically, stem cells are nurtured in lab dishes with the help of irradiated mouse feeder cells. The irradiation kills certain germs, but may not kill viruses.
The FDA requires special safety testing of cell therapies that use animal products to ensure no animal diseases are transmitted to people. So the agency requires proof, through a lengthy list of requirements, that scientists used healthy mice and properly performed all available infection tests.
ES Cell’s experiment used stem cells from an embryo left over from in-vitro fertilization treatments donated by parents through Singapore’s National University Hospital, said Zoe Cook, a spokeswoman with ES Cell.
Details of the research were reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology on Monday.
ES Cell made headlines recently by recruiting Alan Colman, the Edinburgh, Scotland, scientist who helped clone Dolly the sheep in 1996.
On The Net:
ES Cell International: http://www.escellinternational.com/