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Powerful technique for multiplying adult stem cells may aid therapies

utated gene, and then re-administers the stem cells back into the patients. While many clinical trials have succeeded, some ended tragically when the virus ended up activating a cancer-causing gene. Because of this, the Food and Drug Administration is not currently approving any gene-therapy clinical trials.

"If, before the stem cells have been re-introduced into the patients, the physicians could first multiply them in the lab, they could then run assays determining if the virus has landed in any undesirable places," says Lodish. "They could then discard those bad cells, and only administer the good ones to the patients."

But most importantly, these findings aid basic research. "We want to know all sorts of things, like what genes are active in this stem cell, or how this stem cell decides to develop into one kind of cell as opposed to another," says Lodish.

Lodish and his colleagues are collaborating with researchers at Lund University in Sweden to repeat these results with human cord blood.


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Source:Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research


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