Japanese scientists at the Keiko University school of medicine may have found a way of using women’s menstrual blood to replace stem cells, managing to grow heart cells from connective tissue harvested from the blood.
According to Shunichiro Miyoshi, a cardiologist with the Keio University team, cells in women’s menstrual blood have properties similar to those of embryonic stem cells, which can transform themselves into a variety of different cell types as the body requires.
What was surprising is that the menstrual blood has a 20-30% success rate, versus the 0.2-0.3% success derived from stem cells harvested from human bone marrow. The researchers found the results surprising:
When the researchers cultured the cells derived from menstrual blood for one month, then placed them in close proximity to rat heart muscle cells cultured in vitro, they were astounded to see the transformed connective tissue cells beating right along with the rat cells!
The experiment was done on rats, but they hope to be able to replicate it using human blood.