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Ethics Of Extracting Nerve Cells FromHen Eggs OK

Nerve Cells From A Hen’s Egg

By Marietta Gross - Scoop Media Auckland.

Scoop Report: Stem cells extracted from an ethically unobjectionable source - hen eggs - are going to be used in the treatment of neuropathies. Adult stem cells from the bone marrow can develop to neurones. Norwegian researchers have shown a way how to extract these cells under laboratory conditions.

The scientists around Joel Glover from the Universitetet i Oslo have extracted adult stem cells from human bone marrow. These haemopoietic stem cells provide the body with fresh blood and immune cells.

When implanted into the spinal cord of hen’s embryos, the stem cells began to show the genetic characteristics of neurons, report the scientists in the magazine “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”.

About ten per cent of these cells showed attributes of motor neurons, which help to regulate motions.

The scientists hope to be able to treat various diseases with the neurons, which are extracted from stem cells.

Diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) the neurons lose their function. They can be substituted by “bred” neurons. To extract the specific cells from the embryonic stem cells, which deliver an enormous repertoire of different cell types, these embryos have to be grown and later destroyed. But this process is ethically controversial and prohibited in many countries.

The method of Glover and his colleagues goes without embryos. The stem cells can be extracted from adult patients. The research team assumes that bigger amounts of motor neurons can be extracted. By stimulating the signals which regulate the development of cells within the hen’s embryo adult stem cells can develop into motor neurons when kept in proper vascular cultures.

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