Throwing away life. That may be the result of failing to preserve umbilical cords and placentas.
New studies continue to investigate and find opportunities to harvest pluripotent stem cells from umbilical cords and placentas. The latest study is summarized by ScienceDaily and online at Stem Cells Translational Medicine.
The key point? Saving tissue at birth may some day help save a life. Some day not so far off, we amy see legal issues over whether preservation of tissue should be paid for by insurance - or a medical monitoring fund - as a prophylactic tool for persons with significant genetic risks. Others will want to privately fund the preservation as a hedge against diseases that may be become curable through stem cells. Set out below are key excerpts from the ScienceDaily summary:
The current report demonstrates that placental stem cells have much broader therapeutic potential than bone-marrow transplants, because they are pluripotent -- i.e. able to differentiate into many different cell types -- and they also generate growth factors that help in tissue repair. These cells are shown to integrate into different tissues when transplanted into mice, but like cord blood stem cells, and in contrast to embryonic pluripotent stem cells, they do not form tumor-like structures in mice.