(Columbia Daily Tribune) In a second-floor laboratory of the Bond Life Sciences Center, a freezer stores clusters of embryonic stem cells that look similar to globs of clear tapioca pearls under a microscope.
The quiet work that takes place in the lab mirrors the recent silence about stem cells in the political arena. But Missouri Right to Life, the state's most powerful anti-abortion group, is determined to renew fighting against embryonic stem cell research in the coming legislative session.
Michael Roberts leads the team of 12 researchers investigating preeclampsia, a common pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure. Affecting about 5 percent of all births, the fully developed condition known as eclampsia can cause seizures and is believed to be responsible for about 50,000 deaths worldwide annually.
Advertisement - story continues below
The lab makes stem cells using umbilical cords from preeclampsia and uncomplicated pregnancies to test theories about how the condition develops. The stem cells are used as a control group and to test the technology used in the work, Roberts wrote in an email.