General facts about Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Filed under: Embryonic Stem Cell Research  -    Pinned  | Spread the word !

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As anyone who even casually follows the news know, embryonic stem cell research is an extremely heated topic in politics. While there are people who have their own strong beliefs on both sides of this issue, one reason that embryonic stem cell research is such a heated topic is because there are so many misconceptions about this topic. For many people, they hear the name embryonic stem cell research or only hear a tiny snippet about what it actually is, and then they form their entire opinion from that very small piece of information.

While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, for anyone who is going to form an opinion about this matter, it is important to fully educate yourself on the subject of embryonic stem cell research. By fully educating yourself, you will be able to form a stronger opinion than someone who simply assumes they know what embryonic stem cell research really is.

The first major misconception about embryonic stem cell research comes from where the embryonic stem cells are derived from. Most embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos that develop from eggs that have been fertilized in an in vitro fertilization clinic. They are not derived from eggs fertilized in a woman’s body.

Another common misconception is about the age of embryonic stem cells. When embryonic stem cells are used, they are only a few days old. This is a very important element of embryonic stem cell research to understand, because it is something that seems to get misconstrued on a fairly regular basis.

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Cloning Used To Create Embryonic Stem Cells

Filed under: Studies - 05 Jun 2013  | Spread the word !

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A new impressive discovery in the field of stem cell research was made public last month. Scientists have finally been able to use cloning in the process of creating human embryonic stem cells. This is considered to be an extremely important step on the way to treat a series of hard to cure conditions. Specialists claim that they can actually use the results of this discovery for replacement tissue and finally even for organ replacement.

This new study was performed by specialists at the Oregon Health and Science University. Researchers took skin cells from a baby suffering from a genetic disease. Then, they created human embryos identical to the baby, with the use of donated human eggs. Finally, doctors were able to extract stem cells from the embryos.

Cloning used for embryonic stem cell research
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The discovery is fascinating! This is the first time when specialists are able to get cloned human embryos to survive long enough for stem cell extraction. Consequently, this is considered to be a highly important step on the way to human reproductive cloning.

One of the main researchers in this study, Professor Shoukhrat Mitalipov, claimed that the last thing specialists considered was to implant the human embryos. The doctor also said that even if they would do so, this would not lead to the birth of a normal baby. It seems that this technique has already been tested in monkeys and it never produced such results.

Despite the claims that the results of this discovery will only be used for reproductive cloning, the Conference of Catholic Bishops, has already reacted. It has been said that researchers are only treating humans as products and they are willing to create copies of other people. Human cloning is considered to be, from this point of view, immoral, as well as unjust, even though it may only regard therapeutic purposes.

The new study and its results have already been published in the Cell journal. Specialists have tried for no less than 10 years to create human embryonic stem cells with the use of the cloning method. It seems that they finally have been able to achieve this purpose.

Source: The New York Times

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Stem Cell Study On Tooth Regeneration

Filed under: Studies - 15 May 2013  | Spread the word !

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Scientists have recently performed an important study on tooth regeneration. Subjects to this study were alligators, but according to specialists the results are extremely important for stimulating tooth regeneration in people, too. Unique cellular and molecular mechanisms have been found now. The discovery is amazing and it can lead to spectacular results.

Teeth are among the most vulnerable parts of the human body. They are a limited resource in humans. Well, new researchers led by Cheng-Ming Chuong aim to find how animals are capable of growing numerous sets of teeth in their lives, while humans only have two. People get a set of teeth as children, which are replaced with adult teeth when they grow up, at least until they fall out, when the process ceases from repeating. On the other hand, alligators have the ability to regenerate teeth 50 times during their life. According to specialists, alligators are able to do so thanks to the cellular and molecular mechanisms that function in their organisms.


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“Ultimately, we want to identify stem cells that can be used as a resource to stimulate tooth renewal in adult humans who have lost teeth. But, to do that, we must first understand how they renew in other animals and why they stop in people,” Chuong claimed according to Science Daily. The researcher also added the he has chosen this animal for the study because an alligator has almost similar teeth to humans, both when it comes to form and structure.

During the research, specialists found that there are crucial stem cells which stay at the basis of the tooth regeneration process. “The cells in the alligator’s dental lamina behaved like we would expect stem cells to behave. In the future, we hope to isolate those cells from the dental lamina to see whether we can use them to regenerate teeth in the lab,” one of the researchers said.

This new study, Specialized stem cell niche enables repetitive renewal of alligator teeth, was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This is the official journal of the United States National Academy of Sciences. Researchers aim to use the results of this discovery to perform complex studies on how this feature can be used in humans. The purpose is regeneration of human teeth even after they have been completely lost.

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Embryonic Stem Cell Research Shows Restored Memory in Mice

Filed under: Embryonic Stem Cell Research,Stem Cell Research,Studies - 25 Apr 2013  | Spread the word !

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In a recent study, scientists have managed to implant human embryonic stem cells into mouse brains. Consequently, the mice’s memory and learning functions were restored.

The use and research of embryonic stem cells has been and still is controversial, maybe even more controversial now that scientists have been able to both harvest stem cells from umbilical cords and adults alike, and to synthesize them in laboratories. The fact remains, though, that the pluripotency of embryonic stem cells gives them the most potential when it comes to medical applications.


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Case in point, a team of researchers at University of Wisconsin-Madison led by senior author and professor of neuroscience and neurology Su-Chun Zhang together with postdoctoral author Yan Liu, has successfully implanted human stem cells into the brains of mice, restoring their abilities to remember and learn.

The study debuted by inflicting deliberate damage to the part of the mouse’s brain that controls learning and memory, meaning the medial septum, which connects to the hippocampus by gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and cholinergic neurons.

The stem cells, which were cultured in an environment used to promote nerve cell development, were then implanted in the brains of nude mice which, due to an inhibited immune system, do not reject grafts or implants from other species – the human species, in this case.

Now it gets even more interesting. The stem cells then evolved to form GABA receptors – two common but vital types of neurons that communicate with GABA. “These two neuron types are involved in many kinds of human behavior; emotions, learning, memory, addiction and many other psychiatric issues”, said Zhang.


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Two mice were then given a series of standard tests that measure learning and memory – such as maze puzzles. The mice scored significantly better than they had before the implantation of human embryonic stem cells.

Although it is hoped that embryonic stem cell research will be able to cure numerous diseases, brain repair is like the Holy Grail, according to Zhang: “Cholinergic neurons are involved in many additional disorders, including schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression and addition”.

A week before this finding, another group of researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center made a breakthrough in memory recovery when they successfully managed to reverse memory loss in California sea slugs. The study is called “Medial ganglionic eminence-like cells derived from human embryonic stem cells correct learning and memory deficits”.

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Stem Cells And Aging

Filed under: Stem Cell Research - 19 Mar 2013  | Spread the word !

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The theory on stem cells effects in anti-aging treatments has first been developed in 2005. Back then, researchers from the Department of Biochemistry of the University of Hong Kong found that stem cells may have an important role in preventing the premature aging disorder in humans. Stem cells may have an impressive potential in overcoming a series of deteriorations of the body, as well.


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Aging actually is a more serious process than what people usually imagine. It does not only include the visible effects when it comes to wrinkles, but an entire body deterioration is commonly experienced. Body function decreases, skin loses its elasticity and injury heal is much harder to achieve than in childhood. Bones are easier fractured and harder to cure, as well. Lung tissue losses its elasticity and blood vessels commonly accumulate fatty deposits. The body’s capacity to regenerate tissues is decreased. Vulnerability to infection grows, while the immune system’s capacity to fight diseases gets much lower.

Shortly, aging leads to a complex deterioration of the body and its functions. It is a well known fact that the regenerative power of the organism is determined by the ability and potential of the stem cells that exist in that body to replace damaged tissue. However, with age, the number of stem cells present in the individual’s body decrease, so their capacity to replace damaged cells is much lower.


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Stem cells are the essential building organisms of the human body. They can divide and renew themselves throughout their lifetime and these cells are the only ones known to be able to repair adult tissue. However, stem cells also age, losing this way their ability to maintain tissues and organs in the body.

Various studies have been made until today on the link between stem cells and aging. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies found last year that putting new or young stem cells into an old environment can be beneficial, although the results may not be that impressive. Researchers also found that there are various ways in which they may reduce the impact that aging has on the human body, through different therapies.


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Until now, various studies have tried to show the role that stem cells have in combating the signs of aging. Stem cells may be an important feature in beauty treatments, as well, proving to be extremely effective. Well, until stem cells will really be used on everyday practice we should expect more studies on this subject to be published.

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Stem Cells And Cardiovascular Disease

Filed under: Stem Cell Research - 14 Jan 2013  | Spread the word !

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Embryonic stem cell research is one of the most controversial topics on the international agenda today. There are many theories, supporters, but also individuals who condemn this field.

Nonetheless, it seems that human stem cells have the potential to cure many diseases. This type of cells could also be used to test new drugs in order to provide safety.


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Another important application of this research field could be used for cell-based therapies. Stem cells can also be used to treat:

  • spinal cord injury
  • stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • diabetes
  • burns
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • osteoarthritis

Research in mice shows that bone marrow stromal cells transplanted into a damaged heart, have great effects. If these cells are able to generate heart muscle cells or stimulate the growth of new blood vessels that rejuvenate the heart tissue, or help through a different mechanism is still under investigation.

Cardiovascular disease affects people by depriving their heart of oxygen, which can lead to heart failure and then to even death. Repairing and restoring heart muscle tissue may be a wonderful strategy to treat heart failure.

Lately, embryonic and adult-derived stem cells for cardiac repair is an active area of research. Although many tests were in larger animals such as pigs, a few small studies have also been carried out in humans. Usually, they are patients who have underwent open-heart surgery. A few of these studies have proved that stem cells injected into the circulation or right into the injured heart tissue appear to improve cardiac function. Additionally, it was proved that the formation of new capillaries started.


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Nonetheless, the mechanism remains controversial and the stem cell populations in these experiments vary, as well as the application and the conditions of their purification. For transplant purposes, there are some requirements related to stem cells that must:

  • survive in the recipient after transplant
  • proliferate extensively and generate sufficient quantities of tissue
  • differentiate into the desired cell type(s)
  • integrate into the surrounding tissue after transplant
  • function appropriately for the duration of the recipient’s life

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    In terms of the immune rejection, scientists are still experimenting with various strategies that will be developed in a couple of years.

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Facts About Stem Cell Research

Filed under: Stem Cell Research - 11 Dec 2012  | Spread the word !

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In the past few years the role that stem cells can have when it comes to curing some conditions has been much debated. Stem cells are believed to be able to cure diseases that otherwise cannot be overcome. Numerous stem cell based therapies have been promoted, consequently, even though research is still on.


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Below you can read some interesting facts about stem cells. Naturally, there are numerous other important things you should know about these cells that are believed to promote healing of some of the most serious conditions diagnosed in patients.

  • Embryonic stem cells are obtained by harvesting cells from five to seven day old living embryos.
  • Embryonic stem cells can be used in therapies, as they have the potential of turning into any type of cell. They provide endless supply of cells, regenerating cells that have been affected by serious conditions, such as cancer.
  • Stem cells cannot be obtained only from embryos, even though this seems to be quite a common belief nowadays.
  • Stem cells can be obtained from the umbilical cord, the placenta, adult tissues and organs, amniotic fluid, fat from liposuction, the nose.
  • Stem cells can be found in a body that has been deceased for less than 20 hours.
  • Stem cells are different. Various types of stem cells provide different scientific usage.
  • Stem cell research is not illegal, even though it is still regarded as being against the law.
  • Stem cells have the amazing ability to transform into any other type of cells.
  • Stem cell research has many times been linked to human cloning. There are two types of human cloning: reproductive and therapeutic. Therapeutic cloning is used for research exclusively.
  • Numerous organizations are still against stem cell research. However, specialists believe that it can lead to the cure of numerous conditions.


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Stem cell research aims to discover revolutionary treatments for cancer, brain disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and numerous other conditions that cannot be cured nowadays. If stem cell research will lead to such discoveries the benefits are going to be amazing. These therapies may save the lives of millions of people diagnosed with incurable cancer related conditions. They may improve the lifestyle of Alzheimer’s patients, too. If such benefits could be obtained through stem cell research, there is no reason why it should not be supported.

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The Main Types Of Embryonic Stem Cells

Filed under: Information You Should Have - 06 Nov 2012  | Spread the word !

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Stem cells are “blank slate” or unidentified cells from which another type of cells can arise. The main characteristic of these cells is their ability to self-renew, but still maintaining the potential to develop into other types of cells.

There are three major types of stem cells such as:

1. Pluripotent stem cells (PS cells) which can divide for a long time, retaining the ability to make all cell types within the body. They are derived from embryos, also known as the blatocyst stage of a fetus development. They can replicate indefinitely in culture, while retaining pluripotency, which makes them valuable for biomedical sciences. Nonetheless, this type of cells has also been derived from adult skin cells and are named IPS cells or induced pluripotent stem cells.


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2. Fetal stem cells are derived from certain tissues of a developing human fetus. They can be generated from various regions of the developing body and expand in culture for a long time. They are able to retain characteristics of the tissue from which they derive. For example, fetal stem cells derived from the brain have the capacity to form only nervous tissue. Such cells are also known as progenitor cells, meaning that they have the ability to make only a few types of tissues.


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3. Adult stem cells are isolated from some tissues of the adult body. They are found in several tissues, but their capacity to expand to differentiate or to expand into a wide variety is limited. One of the best sources of stem cells is bone marrow and is used for treating a few blood disorders.


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Embryonic stem cells represent an important tool for new medical therapies, but their use has been debated for a long time. Embryonic stem cell research has been regulated differently, depending on the country. The ethical dilemma of this type of cells involves two principles: the duty to respect the value of human life and the duty to prevent or alleviate suffering. In the case of these cells, these two principles are incompatible. Thus, debates related to embryonic stem cells will last for a long time as there are arguments for and against this aspect.

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New Findings On Brain Cancer Causes May Help Treatment

Filed under: Stem Cell Research - 25 Oct 2012  | Spread the word !

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Scientists have recently discovered that the most aggressive type of brain tumor can originate in a series of types of differentiated cells of the nervous system. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is well known to be the most devastating type of brain tumor that can affect humans. The tumor evolves so quickly that it can actually cause death in only a couple of months. This is the main reason why prognosis is so poor.

Until now it has been believed that GBM begins in the glial cells, which form the supportive tissue in the brain or in the neural stem cells. A paper published in October by Science Express proved this theory to be wrong. Researchers at the Stalk Institute for Biological Studies have found that these cancerous tumors can begin in other cells of the nervous system, as well, including cortical neurons.


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GBM is considered to be a deadly brain tumor, as prognosis usually is very poor. Most patients dye within one or two years after the original diagnosis. This type of cancer accounts for more than half of all cases of brain cancer diagnosed in humans. In the great majority of cases, GBM recurrence is traced. This new study also aims to explain the recurrence of GBM following treatment, suggesting at the same time a new type of strategy to treat these deadly brain tumors.

“One of the reasons for the lack of clinical advances in GBMs has been the insufficient understanding of the underlying mechanisms by which these tumors originate and progress,” Dr Inder Verma, the team leader of this study declared. “What we’re saying is, any cell in the brain that gets an oncogenic insult has the ability to differentiate and form tumors,” the lead researcher added.


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The findings of this new study challenge the current thinking that brain cancer arises only from stem cells. What researchers did was to inject viruses containing two cancer-related genes into the brains of mice. The next phase to the process was to monitor progression of the resulting tumors (gliomas). It was expected for the tumors to arise predominantly from neutral stem cells, but the results proved the opposite.

It has been showed that mature brain cells, including neurons, took up the genes and progressed into gliomas. The results were quite surprising, actually neurons displaying increased stem cell-like properties. Neuronal characteristics were decreased, consequently. This means that cells had reverted to a more immature state as the tumors developed. 


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Specialists claim that since now they know how this disease works, they can suggest ways to reverse the mechanism and better handle the treatment. “Our results offer an explanation of recurrence of gliomas following treatment because any tumor cell that is not eradicated can continue to proliferate and induce tumor formation, thereby perpetuating the cycle of continuous cell replication to form malignant gliomas,” Verma explained.

This study is believed to be the first step in finding a way to better handle treatment for this severe form of brain cancer. Even though the study potential therapy may not eradicate GBM, it will slow progression of the disease, improving the quality of life of all patients.

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The First Official Human Embryonic Stem Cell Trial

Filed under: Embryonic Stem Cell Research - 18 Oct 2012  | Spread the word !

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Embryonic stem cells are cultures of cells derived from the epiblast tissue of a blatocyst or earlier morula stage embryos. In other words, a blatocyst is an early stage human embryo and consists of 50-150 cells. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, so they can develop into each of the more than 200 cell types of an adult body. This type of cells doesn’t contribute to placenta or to the extra-embryonic membranes.

Many people are curious to find out more about these cells and to see great results. Fortunately, after a long time, the first trail involving human embryonic stem cells has been published in The Lancet.


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This trail took place in the USA and involves two American women who suffer from vision disorders. They were injected with stem cells and their vision has improved. The Company Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) declares that they are doing very well now.

This is an amazing outcome because people have expected this for a long time. Nonetheless, there was a previous trial which involved spinal patients, but it was abandoned by the US biotech firm Geron. Therefore, the ACT trial is the first official human embryonic stem cell trial that has been reported.


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One of the two women involved in this trial suffers from Stargardt’s disease, so her vision is deteriorated progressively. The other patient suffers from age-related macular degeneration, which causes blindness. Both of them had such a poor vision that they were declared blind.

After they had retinal cells, derived from human embryonic stem cells injected into the back of their eyes, their vision improved slightly.  The woman suffering from Stargardt’s disease was able to see hand movements and movements of fingers, while the patient with age-related macular degeneration was able to see 28 letters on a reading chart.


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As the cells formed no tumours, this encourages scientists to continue such trials. Nonetheless, it’s still uncertain at this point if their visual improvements took place due to the use of immunosuppressive drugs, the transplanted cells or to a placebo effect.


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This means that further and larger trials are needed. A similar trial is conducted at Moorfields Hospital in London, but still it’s not absolutely sure if embryonic stem cells are miracle treatments or not.

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Stem Cell Therapy May Treat Autism

Filed under: Stem Cell Research - 15 Oct 2012  | Spread the word !

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In the past few months, researchers have found that stem cell therapy can treat a series of very hard to cure conditions. Now, specialists believe that stem cell therapy may also be able to treat autism.

Researchers have received the approval to launch a new study on the influence that stem cell therapy has on children suffering from autism. Autism researchers will evaluate if a child’s own umbilical cord blood stem cells can be an efficient treatment or not.


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This new study will be performed on a number of 30 children suffering from autism. These children are aged between 2 and 7. Each child with the disorder will receive injections with stem cells from their own umbilical cord blood. The stem cells have been banked in cord blood banks by their parents, immediately after the children’s birth.

Stem cell therapy is expected to improve language and behavior in children with autism. Well, this new study will show if researchers were right or not. Specialists hope that at least part of the group of patients will react positively to the treatment.


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Even though there have been previous attempts to link stem cell therapy with autism cure, this is the first time when a child’s own cord blood stem cells will be used. However, researchers say that the study will only involve patients whose condition is not linked to a genetic syndrome or brain injury.

The study will last no less than 13 months. During this period of time children will be constantly monitored. At the beginning of the study, children will be split in two main groups. Half will receive an infusion of cord blood stem cells. The other half will receive a placebo infusion. After six months, the two groups will switch therapies.


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Close monitoring will begin since the moment of this first infusion. Each child will be placed in a private room with television. Then, a topical anesthetic will be administrated to the arm of each subject, before intravenous needle placement. The infusions will be administrated by a hematology expert, for an increased safety. Each child will be watched closely for about an hour and a half. If everything seems to be all right, the patient will be allowed to go home. The next day, all children will be seen again, for safety check.

At six weeks specialists will measure for the first time the behavioral and language changes, if there are any. Similar checkups are scheduled at 12 and 24 weeks, as well. Parents are advised to be extra attentive to any changes that occur with their children within this period.


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Statistics show that one in 88 children is diagnosed with autism, only in the United States. This disease is not known to have an exact cause, so there is nothing parents can do to prevent its development. Autism has no treatment, either. The disease affects social, behavioral and language development.

A preliminary result of the new study is expected this year. While some specialists claim that stem cell therapy can be very effective in improving autism symptoms, others say that it is completely ineffective. This study aims to show which of the two theories is the right one.

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