Menstrual Blood Stem Cells – An Alternative to Embryonic Stem Cells?
Collecting menstrual blood for stem cells can be an alternative to killing embryos for embryonic stem cells. The results obtained from a recent study conducted by a group of doctors, headed by Dr Indira Hinduja at Inkus IVF centre prove that menstrual blood is a rich source of stem cells, whose properties of self-renewal and differentiation are similar to those of embryonic stem cells.
The findings of this research come as a sigh of relief to the scientific fraternity in countries where embryonic stem cell research is banned for ethical reasons. Unlike embryonic stem cells whose source is a 4-6 day old embryo, menstrual stem cells can be collected from women for more than 30 years starting from the year they begin menstruating.
The research was based on the assumption that a new endometrium or the lining of the uterus is formed during each menstrual cycle and since new cells are formed every month there could be a possibility of the stem cell presence.
Interestingly, the menstrual blood stem cells were able to form different types of tissues such as brain, lung, blood vessel, bone, liver, pancreas and heart very rapidly.
The promising results achieved so far can pave way for treating several diseases without any tissue rejection.