Menstrual Blood as a Source of Multipotential Stem Cells?

Since last November it has been reported that scientists are researching menstrual blood as a possible source of multipotential stem cells.

THE "monthly curse" may be anything but: menstrual blood appears to be a rich and accessible source of adult stem cells. The uterine lining is already known to contain adult stem cells, but harvesting them would be as invasive as getting them from other adult sources, such as bone marrow. Now two separate groups led by Xiaolong Meng of the Bio-Communications Research Institute in Witchita, Kansas, and Julie Allickson at Cryo-Cell International in Oldsmar, Florida, say they have found these cells in menstrual blood. Both groups say the cells show all the hallmarks of stem cells: they replicate without differentiating, they can be made to differentiate into many different cell types, and they show characteristic markers of stem cells on their surface. Meng's work was published in the Journal of Translational Medicine last week (DOI: 10.1186/1479-5876-5-57). Cryo-Cell has now patented a collection and storage technique called "C'Elle", enabling women to preserve their own menstrual stem cells in case they could be used to treat heart disease, diabetes, and spinal cord injury in the future.

-New Scientist, November 24, 2007

However a BBC news report indicated that some experts have concerns that the company is capitalizing on people's fears while relying on still speculative research to offer such a service. Menstrual blood cells have recently returned to the news as further research is published:

Researchers seeking new and more abundant sources of stem cells for use in regenerative medicine have identified a potentially unlimited, noncontroversial, easily collectable, and inexpensive source -- menstrual blood.

-Science Daily, April 24, 2008