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Stem Cells From Placentas Show Potential in Treating Heart Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and More

Posted Mar 30 2011 12:00am

An Israeli biotechnology firm is betting that stem cells harvested from human placentas can help treat a host of diseases--and strengthen muscles in the process.
 An  Israeli biotechnology firm is harvesting stem cells from human placentas that appear to successfully treat multiple sclerosis, diabetes, alcoholism, and even sports-related injuries.  Pluristem Therapeutics  processes stem cells obtained from donors' placentas into a variety of ready-to-use medications, which is more than just cool science--it's also an indication of where biotech will be headed over the next decade.
Pluristem CEO Zami Aberman told Fast Company that the stem cells obtained from "one placenta can help treat 10,000 people." The company's latest project is a preclinical trial at New York University to  test whether placenta-derived stem cells can be used to treat diabetic foot ulcers . Diabetic foot ulcers occur in more than 10% of all patients with the disease and frequently lead to amputation. Doctors at NYU are hoping that the stem cells can help successfully grow new blood vessels from pre-existing blood vessels in patients' feet and to help aid in tissue regeneration.
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