Human Embryonic Cells Used to Create a Thyroid

Embryonic stem cells are often favored by scientists and researchers because these cells are not predetermined and have the ability to take the form of any cell from any organ in the body. Cells from the umbilical cord are most like embryonic cells in that they too are able to become whatever cell type needed. Recently, embryonic cells have conformed to thyroid cells for the first time ever. These results were reported by researchers at the American Thyroid Association. This became possible by “overexpressing two transcription factors—PAX8 and NKX2-1—Terry Davies,MD of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, and colleagues said they were able to induce stem cells into thyroid cells.” According to Davies, “molecules can also be used to aid the differentiation of thyroid cells, so these two programs come together.” According to ATA scientific program co-chair R. Michael Tuttle, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, the goal is to develop these cells, “to be able to regrow a normal thyroid.” This would be ideal in a situation which called for removal of the original thyroid. While there are still multiple tests to be performed, including the “Asuragen’s rile-in miRInform test,” thyroidologists believe they are only years away from developing a thyroid which can be used in human bodies to replace diseased or malfunctioning thyroids. While this news was exciting to most, there was hesitation from Dr. Bryan Haugen. Even though he was not in attendance at the meeting, Haugen feels as though manipulation of natural embryonic cells can take away the normalcy of the biology, which can cause cells to become over-aggressive or cancerous. Instead, he believes this can be used as a model. This development is one of many. Stem cells are being used to create many organs. It is no longer a matter of “if” it can be done; the question is, "who will make it to the finish line first?" The race continues… Sources THE CONTENT OF THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If you have a medical emergency or question, immediately call your doctor or dial 911 for assistance.