Stem Cell & The Fight Against AIDS - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/13/06

Stem Cell & The Fight Against AIDS

In a groundbreaking study, researchers at the University of California Los Angeles have taken primitive, embryonic stem cells and grown them into mature T-cells.

Those are the fighter cells that protect our immune system and the reason that's such a big deal is scientists say this could open the door to the possibility that those with compromised immune systems like AIDS sufferers - could grow their own T-cells to kill their disease.

"There's almost limitless potential. We haven't realized that potential yet, but it's really exciting for us,"said Dr. Jerome Zack the Assistant Director at the UCLA AIDS Institute.  

"It gives me great hope that things are gonna change, they're gonna change in my lifetime," said Fire Riegel an AIDS patient.

Actually, the study may lead to more than just fighting HIV. Scientists believe the ability to grow T-cells could be the key to treating any auto-immune disease including Lupus and Multiple Sclerosis.

Applying the study to humans is at least ten years away, but both scientists and patients say it gives them hope they haven't had before. The UCLA study was conducted using the stem cell lines approved by President George W. Bush. This research focused on turning stem cells into blood cells, but scientists say in theory, stem cells have the potential to grow into any organ in our body.

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