No Replacement for Embryonic Stem Cells

Sunday’s announcement that scientists had discovered amniotic-fluid stem (AFS) cells that have many similar properties to embryonic stem cells is wonderful news, but does not obviate the need for the federal government to adequately support and fund embryonic stem (ES) cell research. The scientists who published the paper on the new stem cells agreed that these new cells will not replace embryonic stem cells.

The AFS cells, which have been described as a “somewhere in between

AFS cells cannot become as many types of cells in the human body as ES cells can; as Dr. Robert Lanza, chief scientist at the stem cell company Advanced Cell Technology put it, “[these new stem cells] can clearly generate a broad range of important cell types, but they may not do as many tricks as embryonic stem cells.