Women’re good for something.
Japanese researchers have harvested stem cells from human menstrual blood. These stem cells could potentially be a source of specialized heart cells, which might be used to treat failing or damaged hearts.
You know, I could use a second income.
At the meeting of the American College of Cardiology here, Dr. Shunichiro Miyoshi reported that he and his colleagues at Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, collected menstrual blood from six women and harvested stem cells that originated in the lining of the uterus, the endometrium.
They were able to obtain about thirty times more stem cells from menstrual blood than from bone marrow, Miyoshi told Reuters Health.
When the stem cells were cultured in a way to induce them to become heart cells, after five days about half of the cells contracted “spontaneously, rhythmical and synchronously, suggesting the presence of electrical communication” between the cells, Miyoshi announced. That is to say, they behaved like heart cells.
Sometimes science is really, really cool.
The researcher explained that already stem cells derived from bone marrow have been shown to improve the function of the heart — mainly by producing new blood vessels rather than new heart-muscle tissue. He emphasized that it is important that these cells be obtained from younger patients, because they would have a longer lifespan than cells harvested from older donors.
Never mind. I thought I could make a quick buck, but I’m already past my sell-by date.
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