New York: United States researchers have come up with a novel use for men’s testicles, which they say are a rich source of stem cells and so could be transformed into a wide range of tissue types to help fight disease.
The scientists say they have managed to isolate stem cells from the testes of male
mice, extract them and reprogram them into blood vessels, heart cells and tissue.
If the results are reproduced in humans, the technology could help get around the ethical concerns associated with the use of embryonic stem cells and could be used to help treat Parkinson’s, heart disease, strokes and cancer.
Shahin Rafii from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York whose research has been pubished in the journal Nature said: “Testes are designed to generate a lot of sperm and they have these germ cells.
“So germ cells are designed also in a way to give us two different tissues as well so we were able to get a germ cell from testes and instruct them to become other tissues.”
So it is a possible breakthrough, albeit somewhere down the track, for men. But Dr Rafii says women need not give up hope.
“In women also this stem cell exists but the number is very, very low and we hope that eventually we can be able to get these stem cells from their ovaries as well,” he said.
“Also another point – some men can give stem cells to compatible, genetically compatible females so it still can be applied for women as well.”