Thursday, May 19, 2005

Scientists Speed Creation of Stem Cells

South Korean scientists have dramatically sped up the creation of human embryonic stem cells. The same scientists last year were the first to clone a human embryo.

Last year's cloned stem cells were from one healthy woman. This time, the Seoul scientists created stem cells that were genetic matches to each of 11 patients — male and female, as young as age 2 and as old as 56, suffering either spinal cord injuries, diabetes or a genetic immune disease.

Last year, it took attempts with 242 donated human eggs to grow one batch of stem cells. This time, it took an average of 17 eggs per batch and 14 eggs if they were from women younger than 30.

'I didn't think they would be at this stage for decades, let alone within a year,' said Dr. Gerald Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh. He acted as an adviser to the Korean lab in analyzing its data, which was being published Friday in the journal Science.


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