Stem cells found in urine show potential
Using human urine as a source of stem cells to grow body parts sounds a bit disgusting, doesn't it? But researchers from Wake Forest University say have they’ve identified stem cells in urine that can be directed to develop into numerous types of cells. This comes a week after Chinese scientists reported that they were able to grow rudimentary teeth from urine stem cells.
The Wake Forst researchers endorsed the use of stem cells derived from urine samples, citing their potential effectiveness and relatively low cost. Stem cells can be harvested from a variety of tissues, but the procedures can be invasive, expensive or complicated. Urine-based stem cell harvesting, by comparison, is simple, easy and cheap. The scientists successfully directed stem cells from urine to become bladder-type cells, including both muscle and urothelial cells that line the bladder.
These stem cells could also be used to form bone, cartilage, fat, skeletal muscle, nerve and endothelial cells, which line blood vessels. The researchers said they see great potential of these cells to treat kidney disease, urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
Stem cell therapy is seen as a key to future advances in many different fields of medicine, given that any new tissue is less likely to trigger an immune response to “intruders” developed from cells in that person’s body.