Lifewatch: Stem Cell Research

DURHAM -- Stem cell research has been a hot topic lately.

Controversy surrounds embryonic stem cell research, where embryos are created for the stem cells and then essentially destroyed.

But, researchers at Duke University are tapping into a resource we're all born with and are using those stem cells to save lives.

Inside the walls of Duke Medical Hospital, scientists have been putting research to work saving lives for more than a decade, but little is known about it.

Duke is using stem cell research, but not the controversial embryonic stem cell research.  Instead, they're focusing on umbilical cords, hoping to unlock treatments to life threatening illnesses by transplanting the cells.

So how is something that was once discarded now saving lives?  Researchers have found that blood in the umbilical cord is rich with stem cells.

Even though it's a small amount, scientists have found a way to tap into a resource that can save the lives of kids with fatal diseases.

Some parents are opting to save the cord instead of throwing it away, but it's important to know that it's in a blood bank helping sick kids everywhere.

Reported by Sarah Warlick