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Stem Cell The discovery made by Dr James A Thomson a biologist at the University of Wisconsin Madison offers great promise for new ways of treating disease ES cells which are derived from four-day-old embryos can theoretically differentiate into virtually any type of human cell from blood cells to skin cells Scientists hope to find ways of using these cells to repair damaged tissue About stem cell transplantation In the bone marrow there is approximately 1 stem cell in every 100000 blood cells The bone marrow in the breast bone skull hips ribs and spine contains the stem cells In the blood stream the number of stem cells is about 1100 of that in the bone marrow Transplantation of these stem cells from the blood stream is sometimes used in addition to or instead of traditional bone marrow transplantation The range of diseases for which bone marrowstem cell transplantation can be considered has increased greatly and includes the following Hodgkins Disease Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma Multiple Myeloma Ovarian cancer Testicular cancer Leukemia Aplastic anemia Neuroblastomas Brain tumors The problem that surrounds all this is that Dr Thomsons breakthrough work was not eligible for funding from NIH the federal governments primary sponsor of biomedical research and the sponsor of some of his other research projects Instead he set up a separate lab to work on human ES cells supported by private funding from the Geron Corp of Menlo Park Calif and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation Because of the great potential promised by Dr Thomsons discovery NIH sought legal counsel from the Department of Health and Human Services HHS on the question of whether or not the ban applies to ES cell research In January 1999 HHS concluded that public funds could be used for research on ES cells as long as they were not used for the derivation of the cells the process that results in
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