Scientists have found the amniotic fluid that cushions a baby inside a mother's womb could be a promising source of stem cells.
The latest research from Wake Forest and Harvard shows the amnio cells have the ability to transform into muscle, bone, fat, blood vessel, nerve and liver cells.
Scientists have been able to use the stem cells to grow bony tissue in mice.
Cells were also created to replace damaged brain and liver cells in a lab. Anthony Atala, M.D. says, “These cells actually, uh, are not human embryonic stem cells and they're not adult stem cells, but they do have qualities of both, so it's a new stem cell class if you will.” He adds, “The ability to use different cell types to engineer tissue hopefully will benefit patients.”
Researchers harvested the cells from back-up fluid samples taken during amniocentesis tests.
Scientists are very optimistic about this discovery.
With four million births in the US each year, they hope they have tapped into a vast resource for healing.