New discovery with embryonic stem cell research


Stem cell contamination worries Research using embryonic stem cells is controversial

Embryonic stem cells, hailed as a potential treatment for a range of diseases, are contaminated by an animal molecule, researchers suggest. The molecule’s presence would lead the human immune system to attack the cells.

Dr Varki said: "The human embryonic stem cells remained contaminated by Neu5Gc even when grown in special culture conditions with commercially available serum replacements, apparently because they are derived from animal products.

“It would seem best to start over again with newly derived human embryonic stem cells that have never been exposed to any animal products.” However, he said regulations in the US which only allows federal funding to be given to research on embryonic stem cell lines created before 2001 would mean such an approach could not be pursued without a change in the law.

Although we don’t advocate this type of research I think it is wise for us to follow the developments so that we are aware of what is happening out there.


I don’t know why this made the news. The scientific community has known for years that the current cell lines are contaminated. That’s why they need new ones.


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