Human Exceptionalism

Adult Stem Cells from Uterus Treat Parkinson’s in Mice

Well, the old days of “the scientists” such as some of the people over at Amendment 2 in Missouri telling reporters and legislators that adult stem cells are merely “unipotent,” that is, that they can only create their own kind of tissue, are beyond defending any more. Uterine stem cells have been injected into mice–and they grew new brain cells helping to ease the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. From the story:

The injection of uterine stem cells trigger growth of new brain cells in mice with Parkinson’s disease, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in an abstract presented at the 2008 Society for Gynecologic Investigation (SGI) Annual Scientific Meeting held March 26-29 in San Diego, California. “Previously, we were able to coax these multipotent stem cells to differentiate into cartilage cells,” said lead author Hugh S. Taylor, M.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale School of Medicine and section chief of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Yale School of Medicine. “Now we have found that we can turn uterine stem cells into neurons that can boost dopamine levels and partially correct the problem of Parkinson’s disease.” …

The stem cells in this study were derived from human endometrial stromal cells that were cultured under conditions that induce the creation of neurons. These cells then developed axon-like projections and cell bodies with a pyramid shape typical of neurons. “The dopamine levels in the mice increased once we transferred the stem cells into their brains,” Taylor said. “The implications of our findings are that women have a ready supply of stem cells that are easily obtained, are differentiable into other cell types, and have great potential use for other purposes.”

A few years ago, I watched,my mouth agape at the baldness of the mendacity, as a scientist in Missouri testified to a legislative committee that adult stem cells were merely unipotent. It wasn’t true then, and it is beyond any repeating now.