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News & Politics News & Politics

Was America right to ban stem cell research?

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Edinburgh scientists use 3D printing to produce stem cells

A 3D printing technique that produces clusters of stem cells could speed up progress towards creating artificial organs, Edinburgh scientists have claimed.

In the more immediate future it could be used to generate biopsy-like tissue samples for drug testing.

The technique relies on an adjustable "microvalve" to build up layers of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs).

It has been developed by scientists at Heriot Watt University.

Those involved in the research said it could pave the way for specially created organs, which might eliminate the need for organ donation.

3D printing technology has been increasingly used in numerous industries, ranging from creating clothes, architectural models and even chocolate treats.

Scientists have long been experimenting with the 3D printing of cells and blood vessels, building up tissue structure layer by layer with artificial cells.

Dr Will Shu, from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, said: "We found that the valve-based printing is gentle enough to maintain high stem cell viability, accurate enough to produce spheroids of uniform size, and most importantly, the printed hESCs maintained their pluripotency - the ability to differentiate into any other cell type."


Animal-free testing

Embryonic stem cells, which originate from early stage embryos, are blank slates with the potential to become any type of tissue in the body.

In the long term, the new printing technique could pave the way for hESCs being incorporated into transplant-ready laboratory-made organs and tissues, said the researchers.

The 3D structures will also enable scientists to create more accurate human tissue models for drug testing.

Cloning technology can produce embryonic stem cells, or cells with ESC properties, containing a patient's own genetic programming.

Artificial tissue and organs made from the cells could be implanted into the patient from which they are derived without triggering a dangerous immune response.

Jason King, business development manager of stem cell biotech company Roslin Cellab, which took part in the research, said: "Normally laboratory grown cells grow in 2D but some cell types have been printed in 3D.

"However, up to now, human stem cell cultures have been too sensitive to manipulate in this way.

"This is a scientific development which we hope and believe will have immensely valuable long-term implications for reliable, animal-free, drug testing, and, in the longer term, to provide organs for transplant on demand, without the need for donation and without the problems of immune suppression and potential organ rejection."

The research is published in the journal Biofabrication.

by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:29 AM
Replies (71-72):
NewMom11222011
by Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:50 PM
1 mom liked this

I am against abortion being used indiscriminately and used to run a crisis pregnancy center.  However, embryos are not being "harvested" in the case of IVF.  They have been created because it takes (in many cases) many embryos being implanted for even one to implant.  This is what causes "excess" embryos when a couple hits the jackpot early and has success with a pregnancy.  This is why I, personally, chose not to pursue IVF-my own conviction about when life starts.  That being said, others who don't hold that conviction sometimes allow/advocate the destruction of embryos they choose not to have implanted because they don't want to have their embryo given to someone else who will potentially carry to term and raise their biological child(ren).  Unlike most people who share my previously stated beliefs, I agree with many of the posters that utilizing the cells of the embryos that are inevitably going to be discarded into a trash bin for biohazardous waste is a more honorable thing to do and offers the embryo a dignity that a garbage can doesn't.  As for the restrictions on funding, I think that funding the research might have lead to treatments or cures for diseases that we all might acquire and the funding or lack thereof did nothing to change the fact that the embryos were aborted.

Quoting SallyMJ:

Ironic - animal-free testing, but not human-free.

Adult stem cell, skin stem cell, and umbilical cord stem cell research, are fine. No human life is taken in the process.

Human embryonic stem cell research, on the other hand, involves harvesting pre-born babies and using their parts and cells as a sort of "spare parts store" for other, born people.

Like human beings in developing countries harvested of their vital organs while still alive - to be sold on the black market for patients needing organ transplants.

Reminds me of the vivisections, surgery without anesthesia, and "experiments" done on living people, done by the Nazis. We used to say, "Never again!" and now we say, "Sure that's fine - it's for the greater good." 


Mama2Spencerninja

SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Well, sounds like we are similar in some regards. I too wouldn't have IVF. Adoption is expensive, but there are so many kids who need families.

Quoting NewMom11222011:

I am against abortion being used indiscriminately and used to run a crisis pregnancy center.  However, embryos are not being "harvested" in the case of IVF.  They have been created because it takes (in many cases) many embryos being implanted for even one to implant.  This is what causes "excess" embryos when a couple hits the jackpot early and has success with a pregnancy.  This is why I, personally, chose not to pursue IVF-my own conviction about when life starts.  That being said, others who don't hold that conviction sometimes allow/advocate the destruction of embryos they choose not to have implanted because they don't want to have their embryo given to someone else who will potentially carry to term and raise their biological child(ren).  Unlike most people who share my previously stated beliefs, I agree with many of the posters that utilizing the cells of the embryos that are inevitably going to be discarded into a trash bin for biohazardous waste is a more honorable thing to do and offers the embryo a dignity that a garbage can doesn't.  As for the restrictions on funding, I think that funding the research might have lead to treatments or cures for diseases that we all might acquire and the funding or lack thereof did nothing to change the fact that the embryos were aborted.

Quoting SallyMJ:

Ironic - animal-free testing, but not human-free.

Adult stem cell, skin stem cell, and umbilical cord stem cell research, are fine. No human life is taken in the process.

Human embryonic stem cell research, on the other hand, involves harvesting pre-born babies and using their parts and cells as a sort of "spare parts store" for other, born people.

Like human beings in developing countries harvested of their vital organs while still alive - to be sold on the black market for patients needing organ transplants.

Reminds me of the vivisections, surgery without anesthesia, and "experiments" done on living people, done by the Nazis. We used to say, "Never again!" and now we say, "Sure that's fine - it's for the greater good." 




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