McGuckin, professor of regenerative medicine at the University of Newcastle will tell a Vatican-sponsored conference in September that it is possible to use stem cells from the umbilical cords of living babies to produce insulin in diabetics and to grow blocks of human tissue for use in drug tests.

The findings will be unveiled by Colin McGuckin at the Augustinian Institute in Rome and may herald an endorsement of cord blood stem cell research by the Catholic church. Scientists at the conference will be met by Pope Benedict.

According professor McGuckin, they have been able to produce insulin-secreting cells from cord blood, which is pretty much a first.

McGuckin. He will tell an audience, including members of the College of Cardinals, that his team can now grow blocks of liver and brain tissue for use in drug testing.

More than 300 parents in Ireland and Northern Ireland have paid to store their children’s cord blood in the hope that it could be used to treat illnesses in the future but the National Maternity hospital, the Rotunda and the Coombe maternity hospitals in Dublin do not support requests to collect cord blood for storage with private companies.

Soure: Times Online