Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Men's Health

Font Size

Embryonic Stem Cell Treatments on the Way

Research Leaps Crucial Hurdle to Use Against Human Diseases
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD

July 8, 2002 -- Embryonic stem cells have leapt a scientific barrier to their use as treatments for human disease. In doing so, they reveal secrets that may speed discovery of new cancer drugs.

The exciting thing about stem cells is that they can turn into any other cell in the body. Called "daughter cells," these more specialized cells can replace cells damaged by disease.

Research along these lines recently hit a roadblock. Studies in mouse stem cells showed that they lost instructions, called "imprinting," that tell the cells which of their genes to turn on. Without this imprinting, cells might turn on the wrong genes in the wrong place at the wrong time, causing serious problems.

Now this no longer seems to be a problem. Human embryonic stem cells keep their imprinting as they become daughter cells, report Johns Hopkins University researchers Patrick Onyango, PhD, and colleagues in the July 8 online issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"It's reassuring to learn that the cells we have derived from primordial germ cells are imprinted normally," study co-author John D. Gearhart, PhD, says in a press release. "This is critical information for their possible safe clinical use in the future."

There's one happy byproduct of learning more about imprinting. One major cause of cancer is loss of imprinting in tumor cells. Certain drugs can restore imprinting to these cells.

Today on WebMD

man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore.
man swinging in hammock
And how to get out it.
shaving tools
On your shaving skills.
muscular man flexing
Four facts that matter.
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Man taking blood pressure
doctor holding syringe
Condom Quiz
man running
older couple in bed