Science Daily reports:
Reprogrammed amniotic fluid cells can generate all types of body cells. High hopes rest on stem cells: one day, they may be used to treat many diseases. To date, embryos are the main source of these cells, but this raises ethical problems. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin have now managed to convert amniotic fluid cells into pluripotent stem cells.
The article is wrong about embryonic stem cells being the main source of stem cell lines for research and therapeutic purposes; thus far, researchers have used ethically derived adult (or somatic) stem cells in clinical trials or actual treatment more than 200 times, whereas there has only been a handful of clinical trials with embryonic stem cells and not one that has yielded any successful treatments. Amniotic stem cells would appear to be another rich and promising source for research into treatments for various diseases, conditions, and injuries, and without the ethical problems. Great development about amniotic fluid cells, but the article’s impression that ESCR is still promising is simply not true. There would be greater political and public support for ethical cures and treatments that are closer to fruition if the media, especially the science media, did not continue to push ESCR as a cure-all. It isn’t.