Research by Austrian geneticists has raised the possibility that stem cells could be isolated from amniotic fluid – the protective bath water that surrounds the unborn baby.
Geneticist Professor Markus Hengstschläger and his team at the University of Vienna have isolated a subgroup of cells from amniotic fluid that express a protein called Oct-4 – known to be a key marker for human pluripotent stem cells.
Reporting the findings today (Monday 30 June) in Europes leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction, Professor Hengstschläger stressed that the investigation was at an early stage. A lot more work had to be done to verify the finding, and tests were now under way to establish in which direction the cells could be differentiated. However, preliminary experiments have already provided evidence that they can be differentiated into nerve cells.
Margaret Willson | EurekAlert!
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