A group of researchers in Taiwan announced yesterday that they have successfully isolated a population of multipotent cells from a human placenta, which could be a new source of stem cells and could provide an alternative to embryonic stem cells or stem cells taken from adults. \nBone marrow and other cells were differentiated from the placenta-derived multipotent cells after culture, the researchers said. \nThe achievement was made by a team of researchers from the National Health Research Institute (NHRI), National Taiwan University Hospital and Cathay General Hospital. \nA report on the achievement has been published in the latest issue of the journal Stem Cells and the team is applying for a patent for the technology. \nAccording to Chen Yao-chang (陳耀昌) from the NHRI's Stem Cell Research Center, although the differentiation potential of placenta-derived multipotent cells is slightly lower than that of embryonic stem cells, it does not involve the ethical concerns surrounding embryonic stem cell research. \nIn addition, the placenta, which weighs 700 grams to 800 grams, is a high-yield source of stem cells compared with cord blood, which is only 80 grams to 90 grams in a newborn, Chen said. Compared to stem cells extracted from bone marrow, placenta-derived cells carry a higher differentiation potential, and it does not involve an invasive procedure such as extracting bone marrow, Chen said. \nTheoretically, the placenta-derived cells could be applied in the treatment of patients with brain damage or bone fractures, he said. \nHowever, the research is still premature and it is estimated that it will take 10 years before the technology can be used commercially.
A proposal by the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) to permanently ban sitting in Taipei Railway Station’s main hall has received a mixed reaction online, with some social media users vowing to launch a sit-in at the station. Gatherings at the hall have been prohibited since Feb. 29 in accordance with the Central Epidemic Command Center’s policy of reducing crowd sizes in public places. A Facebook user organizing the sit-in said that the hall is a public space and there is no legitimate reason to ban sitting on the floor. He said he suspected that the proposal was made due to business considerations and
Chinese over-the-top (OTT) service provider iQiyi cannot register as a provider in Taiwan after the Mainland Affairs Council declared it to be an illegal service, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday. Both iQiyi and WeTV were deemed to be illegal Chinese OTT operators in an interdepartmental meeting on Friday last week, officials said, adding that this prohibits them from marketing their services in Taiwan or seeking subscribers. The government plans to block a local server that iQiyi has been using to transmit content to domestic audiences, which would disrupt its content transmission. OTT Entertainment Ltd, which is enlisted by iQiyi to
The Taipei Grand Mosque yesterday said its earlier decision to cancel Eid al-Fitr celebrations on Sunday to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would stand, even though there have been no new domestic cases of COVID-19 in more than a month. It will be the first time in 60 years that the event has not be held at the mosque. The Ministry of Labor had asked all mosques to suspend Eid al-Fitr celebrations and prayers this year, due to COVID-19 concerns, and encouraged Muslims to pray at home. This year Ramadan began on April 23 and is to
KAOHSIUNG VOTE: A city official allegedly wrote a message calling on supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu not to participate in the vote next month Prosecutors on Wednesday initiated an investigation of Kaohsiung Civil Affairs Bureau Director-General Tsao Huan-jung (曹桓榮) for allegedly telling supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to interfere with a recall vote against Han, while pan-green politicians denounced the mayor and his team for devising ways to obstruct voting. After receiving complaints from residents, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office launched its probe of Tsao for alleged breaches of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法). Complainants provided evidence that Tsao on Saturday last week wrote on messaging app Line that Han supporters should not vote in the June 6 recall vote, saying: