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Fallopian tubes offer stem cell alternative

Stem cells could soon be harvested from fallopian tubes removed during hysterectomies, experts suggest.

Researchers from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil discovered large numbers of ‘mesenchymal’ stem cells when looking at fallopian tubes taken from women of reproductive age.

The study, published in the Journal of Translational Medicine, found that when grown in laboratory conditions, the cells were able to differentiate into muscle, fat, cartilage and bone cells.

Mesenchymal stem cells are described as ‘pluripotent’ - meaning they can develop into a variety of different cell types. They can also be found in umbilical cords, the inner pulp of teeth, and fat tissue.

Scientists from around the world are looking at ways of using stem cells to replace parts of the body become damaged or lost, either through disease or trauma.

Fallopian tubes are removed when women undergo certain gynaecological procedures, including hysterectomies. Usually they are discarded.

Lead researcher Tatiana Jazedje wrote: ‘Tissue fragments of HFTs (human fallopian tubes), which are usually discarded after surgical procedures, may represent a new potential source of pluripotent cells for regenerative medicine.’

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