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Scientists discover potential solution to stem cell risk

16 August 2011

Posted by Samuel Couratin

Specialists claim to have found a solution to eliminate the potentially deadly side effects of stem cell therapies.

A team of scientists from Stanford University in the US discovered that "pluripotent cells", which can be told to develop into a range of different tissues, may be sorted before they are used in patients in order to remove any that might pose a risk to health.

Writing in the journal Nature, the experts explained that in some cases stem cells can remain undifferentiated prior to transplantation and can turn into teratomas, or tumours, instead.

Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Director Irving Weissman explained: "We've used a combination of antibodies to weed out the few undifferentiated cells that could be left in the ten or 100 million differentiated cells that make up a therapeutic dose."

In related news, the field of regenerative medicine could benefit from a nanotechnology breakthrough by scientists in Singapore in which they have been able to create heart cells from embryonic stem cells.

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