Practicing in Peoria at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Mark Holterman, MD, is a longtime pediatric surgeon with a focus on stem cell research. Also the cofounder of the Alliance for the Advancement of Cellular Therapies, Dr. Mark Holterman does not employ embryonic stem cells in his work. Rather, he coordinates research projects that center on ethically sourced fetal stem cells from grieving parents who have lost children through miscarriage.
An article presented by the U.S. National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health focuses on the potential of fetal stem cells as vital tools in investigating diverse aspects of cell biology. In particular, they hold promise in therapeutic applications such as ex vivo gene therapy and cell transplantation.
Fetal stem cells can be isolated from a variety of fetal tissues, as well as bone marrow and fetal blood. The latter substance is particularly rich in hemopoietic stem cells, with first-trimester fetal blood also containing valuable non-hemopoietic mesenchymal stem cells. Advantages of fetal stem cells over embryonic stem cells include their status as “less ethically contentious.” They also offer the benefit of greater differentiation potential, as compared with adult stem cells.