Japanese scientists close to harnessing power of monthly ick for Good

6:52 AM on 04.25.2008
Japanese scientists close to harnessing power of monthly ick for Good photo

Cardiologists at Keio University have found some success with cultivating menstrual blood cells alongside rats' heart cells and coaxing some of it to turn into heart-y material in the process. This is a huge step: you can get the same results with stem cells nabbed from adults' bone marrow, but 1. collecting marrow hurts like hell, while...do I have to explain the other process? And 2., these blood cells' 20% success rate is literally 100 times higher. American and Japanese scientists have worked on getting stem cells from skin cells, too, but that's a whole other story, and one that doesn't turn up the primary result from Google Image'ing "anime period" when I look for a lead pic. No thank you. X|

This process is still in the very beginning stages as far as human application goes, of course; Shunichiro Miyoshi, one of the science nerds who worked with nine women's red tide to get these results, says they have yet to figure out why some of the cells turned into heart muscle tissue and not the rest, and how to make it happen on command. But it's got awesome implications, i.e. turning the blood into other kinds of cells, using your own cells to keep your immune system from pulling kamikaze attacks on donor tissue, easy collection - blech - possibly infinite storage thereof, some promising benefits in experiments giving these cells to rats who'd had heart attacks, and a wide, disgusting range of potential jokes.

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