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Kadie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 03:30 PM
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UNR stem cell research focuses on sheep
Posted on Sun, Jul. 25, 2004

UNR stem cell research focuses on sheep

Associated Press

RENO, Nev. - A flock of sheep grazing on the outskirts of Reno could hold the key that one day ends the anguish of people waiting for organ donors and provides a new way to treat genetic defects in unborn children.

The sheep are the subjects of stem-cell research being conducted by a team led by Esmail Zanjani, head of the Department of Animal Biotechnology at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Human stem cells taken from the bone marrow of adult volunteers or from one of the federally approved embryo lines are injected into sheep fetuses before the unborn animals' immune systems have developed enough to reject the human cells, Zanjani said.

The sheep, kept at UNR's Agricultural Experiment Station southeast of Reno, make good test models because their stem-cell behavior is similar to humans.

"We found that if we transplanted adult stem cells, human cells developed everywhere in the sheep fetus - in the skin, the liver, the heart and the pancreas, which did make insulin," Zanjani said.

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