Human embryonic stem cells are pluripotent in that they can turn into whatever cell there is in the body. The utilization of such cells could be useful in research, however, its actual extraction is mired in controversy simply because of the nature of the extraction and the actual source.
To help make the life of stem cell researchers so much easier, the UK Stem cell bank is providing them with human embryonic stem cell lines that are harvested from donated tissue that used to be created at in vitro fertilization clinics. This is actually the first bank of its kind and this could pave the way for researchers to finally create various treatments for different human medical conditions.
Director of the UK Stem Cell Bank, Glyn Stacey, said that they’ve had much interest in the project. Stacey added that they aim to release the human embryonic stem cells in the coming weeks and months. Currently, there are only three cell lines available, but she is expecting more by the year’s end.
Before the stem cell researchers could get their hands on the stem cell lines that are offered by the bank, they must meet certain requirements such as an approved application from the researchers’ ethics committee and a consent form from the study participants.
One of the key things that you have to put in mind is that the stem cell lines that are provided by the bank comply with the European Tissue and Cell Directives, which is the governing body that establishes the standards among EU member countries as it pertains to cell and tissue-based research and therapy.
Stacey said that the stem cell lines abide by the rules, especially from the beginning. That is from the selection of the donor, the procurement of the tissues to the storage and transfer of cells to the lab. She added that you do not have to worry about the stem cell lines’ potency because they are extracted in a clean room.
The bank will also provide key information to researchers who want it. This can include the associated consent, handling, testing, and information on the derivation of the stem cell lines.
According to Jane Lebkowski, president of research and development and chief scientific officer of Astelis, the cell bank is actually a great first step for researchers who are going to make use of human embryonic stem cells for use in clinical trials and for the development of new cures and therapies.
Although this could be a precedent to new stem cell therapies, it still remains to be seen how this fares in the U.S.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will be the one to approve such methods and procedures, but before they can do so, the procedures will have to undergo a testing methodology in-house.
This is an interesting development in the field of science and medicine. Maybe one day, we can make use of human embryonic stem cells to cure any human condition. For now, it would be best that we remain hopeful of the possibilities.