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Amniotic Fluid Medicine

October 29, 2012

Cells from amniotic fluid can be reprogrammed more stably than traditional stem cells.



Amniotic cells to the rescue.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Converting human stem cells into adult cells has promising medical applications.  But so far, it’s inefficient, and the resulting cells sometimes revert back.  Now, scientists may have found a source of better reprogrammable cells: amniotic fluid, which contains stray cells sloughed off from a fetus.  Senior postdoctoral fellow Michael Ginsberg tested them in Shahin Rafii’s lab at Weill Cornell Medical College.

MICHAEL GINSBERG (Weill Cornell Medical College):

Not only did they proliferate beyond anything we could have wildly imagined, but they were extremely stable. This was really something that hadn’t been shown in any previous studies.

What’s more, the amniotic cells could be converted to endothelial cells, a critical component of blood vessels. Ginsberg says such cells could repair damage from a host of common diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and emphysema.  I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.

Amniocentesis tests for genetic disorders during pregnancy. (Jupiter Images)