We've all known about the potential that is offered by the use of stem cells when it comes to treating illness and disease due to their unique ability to transform into almost any type of human cell. The science has faced much controversy, however, due to the fact that stem cells are most often obtained through harvesting them from abortions. That has been the major roadblock in stem cell research - as of the writing of this article, President Bush has performed his first veto in order to halt stem cell research. New findings may soon negate the need for stem cells from abortions - scientists have recently used stem cells from the fat tissues of adults!
This exciting breakthrough was discovered by the David Geffen School of Medicine, the Henry Samueli School of Engineering, and the University of California Los Angeles. The researchers took stem cells from fat tissue found in adults, and transformed them into smooth muscle cells! Smooth muscle cells are needed throughout the body in areas such as the intestinal tract and blood vessels. The very act of turning the stem cells into smooth muscle cells gives doctors hope that soon, we'll be able to take those cells and use them to help repair and regenerate organs that may be damaged in the body.
The cells that were transformed by the researchers behaved exactly as normal smooth muscle cells would. In addition, the fact that the stem cells came from the body that they would be eventually used to repair, the patients would undergo little risk of rejection of the cells. In the past, doctors have been able to successfully create smooth muscle cells from cells found in the brain and the bone marrow, but this breakthrough allows for unnecessary cells to perform the task as opposed to the important ones. To ensure that the experiment wasn't some type of isolated incident, the scientists repeated the process with the same success. The doctors now look forward to finding ways to make the transition between the fat cell and the smooth muscle cell occur more rapidly to allow for quicker production of the muscle cells. Any way you cut it, this development holds much promise for the future of the human condition.