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  1.  (1950.1)
    Researchers seeking new and more abundant sources of stem cells for use in regenerative medicine have identified a potentially unlimited, noncontroversial, easily collectable, and inexpensive source -- menstrual blood.

    Stromal stem cells - cells that are present in connective tissues - have recently been identified in endometrial tissues of the uterus. When the fresh growth of tissue and blood vessels is shed during each menstrual cycle, some cells with regenerative capabilities are present and collectable. While collecting menstrual blood stromal cells (MenSCs) directly from tissue would be invasive, retrieving them during the menstrual cycle would not be.

    "Stromal stem cells derived from menstrual blood exhibit stem cell properties, such as the capacity for self-renewal and multipotency," said Amit N. Patel, MD, MS, Director of Cardiac Cell Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine. "Uterine stromal cells have similar multipotent markers found in bone marrow stem cells and originate in part from bone marrow."


    Link.
    • CommentAuthorWinther
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1950.2)
    Interesting. Potentially unlimited - cool. Easily collectable and non-invasive = good. Hopefully getting the fucking Pro-lifers off our backs = priceless.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRabbit
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1950.3)
    Huh. That could be interesting. Makes me wonder how donations could work.

    Gross and practical. I like it.
    •  
      CommentAuthorWaxPoetic
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1950.4)
    this is interesting.
    thanks for the link, i will send it to my mom as she has MS and this research could be of interest to her.
  2.  (1950.5)
    @Rabbit There is a device called "The Keeper" which I think would work well for collection :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menstrual_cup
    •  
      CommentAuthorEgon
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1950.6)
    It's also a great source of protein!
    •  
      CommentAuthorRabbit
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1950.7)
    @jrblackwell : Aha, that would work rather well! I have heard of the Keeper before.

    I was kind of thinking more the process of getting women in to donate; would there be a screening process? A sign-up sheet? Would they market it like they do with donating blood? I oddly imagine a lot of interest around donating.
  3.  (1950.8)
    @WaxPoetic

    You're welcome.
  4.  (1950.9)
    Hopefully getting the fucking Pro-lifers off our backs = priceless.


    Ah, them and the Church will find a way around this little obstacle and resume their mankind-hating.

    I, on the other hand, was delighted with this.
    •  
      CommentAuthorEgon
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1950.10)
    Pro-Lifer: YOU'RE PLAYING GAWWWWWWWD!! BLASPHEMY!

    Meanwhile, keeping dying people alive well past their own means is totally cool.
  5.  (1950.11)
    Meanwhile, keeping dying people alive well past their own means is totally cool.


    It's ridiculous that euthanasia is still a controversial matter.
    • CommentAuthorWinther
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1950.12)
    Yeah, that was uncharacteristically optimistic of me.

    Y'know, I feel like there might be a wealth of PMS-related jokes in this story, but I won't go there. Because I'm too mature.

    Well, that, and the thought of the women of the board collectively stuffing me with Arse Eels also gives me pause. But mostly the maturity thing.
    •  
      CommentAuthorElana
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1950.13)
    @ Rabbit, regarding enthusiasm for the donation process:

    It would fill me with joy to have my menstrual blood become useful for something. Anything. That it should be for regenerative medicine is just a bonus. My body goes through so much trouble generating the stuff that it would be nice to have something come of it other than wincing and ickiness.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRabbit
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1950.14)
    @ Elana: Exactly! I feel the same way. :)
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1950.15)
    I forget the name of the technique, but there's a controversial (because it could be used for DIY early-term abortions) method of sucking out the lining of the uterus to essentially eliminate the messy bleeding part of a period. This would be a sanitary and handy way of collecting those stem cells.

    Drop by the suck-out center, catch up on your reading for a half an hour, and maybe they even pay you for the trouble!

    Of course, the makers of sanitary napkins would probably lobby such places out of existence.
    •  
      CommentAuthorDebbieM
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2008
     (1950.16)
    Valuable? And here I've been throwing it away!
    •  
      CommentAuthorhmobius
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2008
     (1950.17)
    @egon: To paraphrase Bill Hicks, if pro-lifers are really pro-life, why don't they picket graveyards?

    Hmmm. If menstrual blood is a keeper, I wonder if the afterbirth might be another source. I guess they've already looked though.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2008
     (1950.18)
    Yeah, placenta are another possible source.

    Some companies already freeze placenta and cord blood in the hopes that it will be able to be used in future to treat the donor.
    • CommentAuthorSteerpike
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2008
     (1950.19)
    StefanJ: It's a form of D&C (dilation & curettage) - I'm not sure if you get placed completely under for it or if you just get a local anesthetic or analgesic.
    • CommentAuthorZeebo
    • CommentTimeApr 26th 2008
     (1950.20)
    @Kosmopolit & hmobius:
    The placenta and the umbilical cord are both great sources of multipotent stem cells. Isolates from either of them can easily yield millions of stem cells.

    As for the article, I can't read it from home, but I'm skeptical, as usual. I really hope it checks out and the science is good, but I'm wary that such a "major discovery" is published in such a low-impact journal (I've never even heard of Cell Transplantation nor does my school have a subscription). Wish I could read it. Damnable money-grubbing science journals.