Happy New Year everyone! This is the first round of stem cell stories we stumbled across in 2012. There seems to be a bit of crackdown going on regarding unproven stem cell therapies, both in the United States and in China. And there's some exciting news about an "excellent supply of stem cells right behind your eye"...
FBI crackdown on unproven stem cell therapies
"They are the modern equivalent of snake oil merchants: clinics that charge desperately ill people thousands for unproven stem cell "cures". Now the US federal government is cracking down on one of the most notorious – and the defendants include a scientist at a leading research university."
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You have an excellent supply of stem cells right behind your eye
"As we age, vision problems are unavoidable. Age-related macular degeneration breaks down a thin layer of cells in the back of your eye — the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) — on the way to causing vision loss. [...] Researchers discovered that the RPE is able to self-regenerate in vivo and act as stem cells — differentiating into nerve, cartilage, and bone cells when grown in the correct medium. But that's not the best part of the report - the RPE is available for extraction from the recently deceased, and from living donors, making available a vast supply of stem cells without any ethical entanglements."
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Read the orginal publication in Cell Stem Cell
China stops unapproved stem cell treatments
"China has ordered a halt to all unapproved stem cell treatments and clinical trials, state media reported on Tuesday, as Beijing seeks to rein in the largely untested stem cell therapies now on offer across the country."