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St Vincent's Hospital research sidesteps moral dilemma

Sydney scientists are pioneering adult stem cell research which sidesteps the ethical dilemma posed by human embryonic and cord blood cells.

Professor David Ma from St Vincent's Hospital is developing methods of isolating stem cells from adult bone marrow for manipulation into other types of cells.

The bone marrow cells would be changed into brain, heart muscle, cartilege and joint cells to treat conditions including arthritis, parkinson's, alzheimer's and heart disease.

"Most other researchers are focussed on human embryonic cells because they say they have a better potential," Prof Ma said. "I think adult stem cells have potential at this stage. But we are not looking at it in a clinical setting."

Prof Ma's research is more targeted than that underway at Newcastle University which looks at injecting entire bone marrow cells to treat heart disease.

St Vincent's Hospital Professor of Immunology Ron Penny yesterday encouraged people to store their cord blood stem cells.

St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney

Daily Telegraph (16/4/02) (requires payment)

16 Apr 2002