Biologists have not given up getting increased access to embryos fior human embryonic stem cell research, still limited under the Obama administration, much like they were under Bush.
A group has found that even after being frozen for 18 years, human embryos can be thawed, grown in the laboratory, and successfully induced to produce human embryonic stem (ES) cells, which represent a valuable resource for drug screening and medical research. Prolonged embryonic cryopreservation as an alternative source of ES cells is the focus of an article in BioResearch Open Access.
Kamthorn Pruksananonda and coauthors from Chulalongkorn University and Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand, demonstrated that ES cells derived from frozen embryos have a similar ability to differentiate into multiple cell types—a characteristic known as pluripotency—as do ES cells derived from fresh embryos.
"The importance of this study is that it identifies an alternative source for generating new embryonic stem lines, using embryos that have been in long-term storage," says Editor-in-Chief Jane Taylor, PhD, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
They presented their findings in the article "Eighteen-Year Cryopreservation Does Not Negatively Affect the Pluripotency of Human Embryos: Evidence from Embryonic Stem Cell Derivation"