Scientists have found an effective way to extract stem cells from placentas, where they’re abundant, after babies are born, the Guardian reports. Placentas contain up to five times as many of the key cells as cord blood, which has become a common source, and they may be more primitive, which makes them more versatile, they say. “Yes, the stem cells are there; yes, they are viable; and yes, we can get them out,” says the team leader at a hospital in Oakland, Calif.
Researchers froze placentas after birth, then applied drugs typically used to pull stem cells from bone marrow. The hospital has been using stem cells from the cord blood of siblings to treat children suffering from blood-related diseases, but they often lack enough stem cells to be effective. "The more stem cells, the bigger the chance of success,"
says the lead researcher.