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New Technique Harvests Stem Cells at Earlier Stage
Date:7/9/2008

om the inner cells at the blastocyst stage, just as most other established hESC lines are.

"Now we will try to derive four hESC lines from the same embryo in order to compare the potency capacity of all four cells," Van de Velde said.

The work could have major ramifications for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), by enabling the biopsy of one cell from a 4-cell stage embryo. This would let the remaining three cells grow into a blastocyst (five-day embryo) that could be implanted into the uterus and develop into a healthy baby.

"Currently, PGD is performed at the 8-cell stage, when one or two cells are removed; others have derived stable hESC lines at this stage but with low efficiency. If hESC derivation at the 4-cell stage turns out to be more efficient then at the 8-cell stage, we might consider changing our PGD policy," Van de Velde said.

The public mostly favors stem cell research, according to another researcher scheduled to speak at the conference.

According to the online survey of almost 600 people, more than 78 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement "I believe that it is morally wrong to use embryonic stem cells for research." A similar majority also disagreed with the statement "I believe that it is morally wrong to use embryonic stem cells for medical treatment."

"We found no difference between male and female attitudes towards using hESCs for research, but when it came to medical treatment, men showed significantly more support than women," survey researcher Jaclyn Friedman, a clinical embryologist at Reproductive Biology Associates in Atlanta, said in a news release from the society. "We found no significant differences when we looked at particular age groups, but a higher level education of respondents correlated with greater support for the use of hESCs, both in research and medical treatment. There were no important differences among regions of the world ..."


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