(AP) Dr. Anthony Atala, head of Wake Forest's regenerative medicine institute, is photographed in his... Full Image
Stem cell researchers reacted with enthusiam and reservations to a report that scientists have found stem cells in amniotic fluid, a discovery that would allow them to sidestep the controversy over destroying embryos for research.
Researchers at Wake Forest University and Harvard University reported Sunday that the stem cells they drew from amniotic fluid donated by pregnant women hold much the same promise as embryonic stem cells.
They reported they were able to extract the stem cells from the fluid, which cushions babies in the womb, without harm to mother or fetus and turn their discovery into several different tissue cell types, including brain, liver and bone.
But Dr. Anthony Atala, head of Wake Forest's regenerative medicine institute and the senior researcher on the project, said the scientists still don't know exactly how many different cell types can be made from the stem cells found in amniotic fluid. The scientists said preliminary tests in patients are years away.