Menstrual blood bank could save lives
Researchers have noted that a woman's menstrual blood is rich with stem cells that would be useful in stem cell research.
The blood that uselessly leaks away from a woman’s body every month until she hits menopause is a good source of stem cells, which are still at an early stage of development and retain the potential to turn into many different types of cell. Stem cell research classifies them as a super “repair kit” for the body because they can be used to grow new fat, cartilage, bone, skin, heart and brain cells. Japan and American researchers say menstrual blood could actually be banked and used to save lives. It is supposed to contain adult stem cells that can develop into any of nine different types of cells, including heart, lung, nerve and muscle.
Stem cell research is a controversial issue because scientists believe the most valuable tissue can be gleaned from embryotic cells - but in this instance, if cells can be harvested from a woman's uterine lining, perhaps the controversy will settle somewhat.
The master stem cell is the zygote and all of human life really begins here. A zygote is created when an egg is fertilised. Thereafter, this master stem cell multiplies as the embryo develops into millions of cells, including a large number of other stem cells. Less specialised stem cells become ever more so with the process continuing throughout pregnancy to create different cells — skin, muscle, nerve or bone. Throughout the life, the body continues to produce stem cells. Kumar says menstrual stem cells are similar to those from bone marrow and embryos, with the added bonus of even faster replication and higher compatibility. It is an amazing bit of news for stem cell therapy, which is gaining ground across the world as a wonder cure for Parkinson's, Alz-heimer’s, heart disease, diabetes, spinal cord damage and much more.