Public Release: 

Menstruation proves more than a curse

Cells from the womb lining discarded during a woman's period are the new stem cells

BioMed Central

The cells which thicken the womb wall during a woman's menstrual cycle contain a newly discovered type of stem cell, and could be used in the treatment of damaged and/or old tissue, according to research published today in the online open access publication, Journal of Translational Medicine.

Dr Xiaolong Meng of the Bio-Communications Research Institute in Wichita, Kansas, led the research team consisting of scientists from the University of Alberta, University of Western Ontario and Medistem Laboratories (mdsm.ob). The team identified a new type of stem cell that can be reproducibly isolated from menstrual blood collected from healthy female subjects.

"We have many problems with our current methods of stem cell therapy, like those taken from bone marrow," commented Dr Meng, "They may be rejected by the recipient and/or have limited potential to generate new tissue. Now we've found a possible new way to overcome these difficulties by using cells from menstrual blood."

The growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing blood vessels is an essential part of the uterine or womb phase of the menstrual cycle. Cells collected from the menstrual blood of women include types which can be cultured in the laboratory, which replicate almost 70 times in a very rapid time span. This replication rate is far faster than cells which are currently used, taken from umbilical cord blood and bone marrow. The cells are so unique in their ability to develop into at least 9 different cells including heart, liver and lung, that researchers called the cells Endometrial Regenerative Cells (ERC). Not only do ERC replicate at a phenomenal rate of almost every 20 hours, but they produce unique growth factors at a rate of almost 100,000 greater than cells from umbilical cord blood.

A mere 5ml of menstrual blood collected from a healthy woman provided enough cells which after two weeks of culture provided beating heart cells. The results of this breakthrough research indicate that these cells could be cultured at a large scale, thereby providing an alternative to the current methods of using bone marrow and umbilical cord blood, which itself poses threats of rejection.


This research was sponsored by Medistem Laboratories (mdsm.ob).

Endometrial regenerative cells: A novel stem cell population
Xiaolong Meng, Thomas E Ichim, Jie Zhong, Andrea Rogers, Zhenglian Yin, James Jackson, Hao Wang, Wei Ge, Vladimir Bogin, Kyle W Chan, Bernard Thebaud and Neil H Riordan
Journal of Translational Medicine (in press)

During the embargo, article is available at

After the embargo, article is available at the journal website:

Article citation and URL available on request at on the day of publication

For author contact details please contact Charlotte Webber (Press Office, BioMed Central)
Phone: +44 (0)20 7631 9980

Please quote the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's Open Access policy.

Journal of Translational Medicine is an Open Access, peer-reviewed online journal focussing on information derived from human experimentation so as to optimise the communication between basic and clinical science. The publication aims to improve the communication between basic and clinical science so that more therapeutic insights may be derived from new scientific ideas - and vice versa.

Medistem Laboratories (mdsm.ob) is performing experimental research with hopes of meeting FDA requirements so that these cells may be used for treatments of disease ranging from diabetes to liver failure. BCRI is a division of The Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning, International (CIHFI) -- CIHFI, a 501 (c) 3 foundation, was founded 30 years ago and is located in Wichita, Kansas.

BioMed Central ( is an independent online publishing house committed to providing open access to peer-reviewed biological and medical research. This commitment is based on the view that immediate free access to research and the ability to freely archive and reuse published information is essential to the rapid and efficient communication of science.

BioMed Central currently publishes over 180 journals across biology and medicine. In addition to open-access original research, BioMed Central also publishes reviews, commentaries and other non-original-research content. Depending on the policies of the individual journal, this content may be open access or provided only to subscribers.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.