Stem Cells Found in Fallopian Tubes
Stem cells and stem cell research have always been steeped in controversy mainly because the earliest source of stem cells discovered was the human embryo. This led to strong resistance against stem cell research based on ethical, moral, and religious grounds. Over the years, new, less controversial sources of stem cells have been identified, including:
Recently, Brazilian researchers have reported about another potential – and “politically correct” – source of stem cells – discarded Fallopian tubes.
The Fallopian tubes are the tubes that “catch” the eggs from the ovaries, to be transported to the uterus. Sometimes the tubes have to be removed surgically, an intervention called salpingectomy. In many cases, it is performed in connection with oophorectomy (removal of the ovary) and/or hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) in women with cervical or breast cancer. The researchers found abundant immature cells in Fallopian tubes during surgery, cells which can potentially develop into bones, muscles, and other organs.
Stem cell research is cutting edge technology in the quest for curing many diseases, from cancer, to cardiovascular disorders, to neurodegenerative diseases. Identifying more “ethical” sources of stem cells can give this field of research a boost and hopefully produce results. Currently, a few stem cell-based therapies are undergoing clinical trials.