Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Menstrual blood can save a life


September 1, 2008
By Syed Akbar
After the placental blood, scientists have now turned their attention to the
menstrual blood. Scientists have clinically established that blood that flows
during the monthly periods in women has several health benefits including the unique property to improve blood circulation and create different tissues.
In short, menstrual blood can save life in certain critical health problems.
Menstrual blood gets its properties mainly because of the presence of endometrial regenerative cells. Using mouse models with peripheral artery disease, a team of scientists at Indiana University, USA, has demonstrated that endometrial regenerative cells when injected into mice suffering from blocked circulation, will restore the blood circulation and functionality.
The team was led by senior vascular surgeon Dr Michael Murphy. The researchers have also found out that ERCs from menstrual blood are quite helpful in treating critical limb ischemia. Presently, there is no medical or surgical treatment to the problem. Menstrual blood is the only hope for such patients.
According to Dr Murphy, who has already demonstrated clinical trials with adult stem cells, ERCs from menstrual blood are capable of forming into at least nine different tissue types, including heart, liver and lung. "The advantage of ERCs is that they can be used in an off the shelf manner, meaning they can be delivered to the point of care, do not require matching, and are easily injectable without the need for complex equipment," he points out.
In another research study led by Dr Xiaolong Meng of the Bio-Communications Research Institute in Wichita, Kansas, USA, the menstrual blood contains a new type of stem cells that hold a great medical potential. The new stem cells can be reproducibly isolated from menstrual blood drawn from healthy women.
Unlike the stem cells drawn from bone marrow or placenta which have side effects including chances of rejection by recipients, those from the menstrual blood have the potential to generate tissues fast and effectively. The menstrual blood will help overcome such problems.
The scientists from Kansas said menstrual blood contains cell types which can be cultured in the laboratory. They replicate almost 70 times in a very rapid time span. This replication rate is far faster than cells which are presently drawn from placental or umbilical cord blood and bone marrow. The growth rate of ERCs is one lakh times more than those from the placental blood.
"Just 5 ml of menstrual blood collected from a healthy woman will provide enough cells which after two weeks of culture provided beating heart cells," he said.

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