What are some of the ethical concerns
associated with harvesting neural stem cell post-natally?
To date, unfortunately, the sources of human neural precursors
have been limited to either fetal or embryonic tissue or tissue
removed at surgical resections of epileptogenic foci.
Both sources of tissue have their problems. The former suffers
from ethical considerations that may eliminate the source
or the willingness of investigators to use it (See President
Bush's address). The latter suffers from a lack of a consistent
supply both temporally and geographically, in addition to
the consideration that cells harvested from this type of tissue
may not be normal.
A technique that allows for the harvest of neural precursors
from post-natal, post-mortem, human brain would obviate the
conundrums associated with the existing tissue sources and
would make human neural precursors widely available to the
scientific community. It is only this widespread availability
of the cells that will allow significant progress in this
field to be made.