Further advances in non-embryo research

Research using cell therapies which do not destroy human embryos continues to show much promise with news of three recent developments.

According to the National Geographic magazine, Japanese researchers say dental pulp from wisdom teeth could be a new source of stem cells.

Stem cells have the ability to develop into a variety of tissues and scientists hope they could be used to repair damaged or diseased tissue.

Some want to use human embryos as a source of stem cells. However, harvesting the cells destroys the embryos. Non-destructive sources of stem cells are increasingly being developed.

Meanwhile, scientists in America have found a way of reprogramming cells in mice to help combat diabetes. The technique does away with the need to use embryonic cells.

And in Edinburgh the scientists who cloned Dolly the sheep have made a major breakthrough using stem cells that have been reprogrammed from skin cells.

They say that improved treatments for schizophrenia and motor-neurone disease could be available within two decades.

Scientists around the world are increasingly moving towards non-embryonic stem cell research.

Stem cells from sources such as bone marrow and umbilical cord blood have now been used to successfully treat at least 72 conditions.

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