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December 28, 2010

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Scientists to set up stem cell and ovary banks

LOCAL scientists are working on cutting-edge technologies to set up banks for human embryonic stem cells and ovaries.

The project by the Shanghai reproductive medicine diagnosis and treatment center is taking place under the city's three-year public health system, starting next year.

While egg storage is not a new concept and has been used to help at least three women get pregnant in local hospitals, storing the entire ovary and embryonic stem cells is more challenging.

"Embryonic stem cells can develop in different ways, and can grow into different cells, such as liver cells and cardiac muscle cells," said Dr Zhao Xiaoming from Renji Hospital, which hosts the reproductive medicine center.

Sometime in the future, patients with liver failure will be able to receive a liver that has been grown from embryonic stem cells, she said.

"Embryonic stem cells in our research are those left over from in vitro fertilization. Previously, they were thrown away," Zhao added.

Ovary storage is similar to egg storage, although it is more suitable for young girls with immature ovaries.

If a young girl requires chemotherapy for a tumor, she could have her ovaries removed and frozen, then returned after she recovers.


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