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News of the Day ... In Perspective

11/8/2006

Artificial liver from stem cells?

Two British scientists have grown a dime-size human liver from stem cells and predict that within 10 years it might be possible to produce a full-size one for transplantation.

The liver cells are already being used for drug testing, reducing the need for testing on animals or human beings.

The technology was developed by Nico Forraz and Colin McGuckin of Newcastle University. They placed stem cells from umbilical cord blood in a bioreactor that mimics the effects of weightlessness and added hormones and other chemicals. The scientists received the science and technology award at the North East Universities Business Planning Competition last week (Thair Shaikh, Times Online 11/7/06).

This “amazing achievement” offers “tremendous hope for the alleviation of human suffering,” writes Wesley J. Smith, M.D. It has not, however, attracted the attention of the major news media. Smith comments that it is “politically incorrect” because the cells came from cord blood, not from destroyed human embryos.

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