Monday, 19 Jan, 2009 Health & Fitness

Stroke Patients to Be Treated with Stem Cells from Aborted Fetuses


It was reported that British scientist were allowed to treat stroke patients with injections of stem cells taken from aborted babies. Soon scientists, for the first time, will inject in the brains of patients stem cells from a 12-week-old fetus.

According to specialists, the stem cells will help restore areas of the brain that were damaged by strokes. Thus scientists will be able to restore patients' movement and mental skills. However, the idea was highly criticized by anti-abortion groups, who consider that it is barbaric to use aborted babies in such a way.

Statistics show that 25 percent of Britons suffered a stroke that caused serious disabilities. Previously scientists were unable to repair damages caused by stroke. In 2010 scientists will begin their 2-year trial. There will be 4 groups, each including 3 patients. All of them will receive stem cells developed by ReNeuron, a Surrey-based biotech company.

The injected stem cells have the ability of turning into any form of human tissue. Those that will be used in the trial were grown in culture after being taken from the brain of the aborted baby. Experts at ReNeuron say that cells from an adult can also be used by those taken from a fetus are more adaptable. The company states that it has the ability to create all the cells needed from one fetus.

Scientists carried out their tests on disabled rats, affected by strokes. They hope that one injection will be enough to provide a lifelong improvement in humans. The lead-scientist, Keith Muir, of Glasgow's Southern General Hospital, outlined that in case the trial goes well, it would be possible to grow new nerve cells or regenerate the already existing ones.

But Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment On Reproductive Ethics, considers the experiment "utterly unacceptable", saying that the idea lies in the sacrifice of one life being for theoretical benefits.

The company looked forward to start its trials in the United States but was not allowed. Now it gained permission from the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

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