Embryonic stem cells according to about.com are “derived from embryos that develop from eggs that have been fertilized in vitro, in an in vitro fertilization clinic. They are donated for research purposes with informed consent of the donors. They are not derived from eggs fertilized in a woman’s body – a common misconception.”
Nonetheless, the use of embryonic stem cells for medical research purposes remains a lightning rod and litmus test for those who have various political and religious agendas.
Embryonic stem cells do have great capacity for growth and differentiation which makes them very attractive for basic scientists. Unfortunately, because of their multiplication ability, there is also the risk of malignancy, which has been reported with the use of embryonic stem cells.
So, combining the ethical objections as well as the capacity for malignant differentiation, the use of these cells for arthritis treatment, particularly osteoarthritis treatment, is limited.
Here’s a great video about the topic: http://youtu.be/nxMjMaQQS1M
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