Stem cells made from skin

2010-10-01 07:54
Washington - Researchers have found a surprisingly quick and apparently safe way to transform ordinary skin cells into both stem cells - the body's master cells - and muscle cells.

They said on Thursday their method may provide a way to generate tissue in a new science called regenerative medicine, which doctors hope will eventually lead to ways to repair injuries and eventually perhaps even replace whole organs.

Reporting in the journal Cell Stem Cell, Dr Derrick Rossi of Harvard Medical School and colleagues said they were working on new ways to make induced pluripotent stem cells or iPS cells.

These cells closely resemble embryonic stem cells - the body's true master cells, which can give rise to all of the body's cells and tissue and which also flourish in the lab.

It takes just 3 or 4 genes to turn back the clock on skin cells or other ordinary cells, and make them behave like stem cells. But most ways of doing this involve using a virus to carry the new genes into the cell, or DNA, and these techniques can lead to other problems, including tumours.

Potential

Rossi and colleagues in stem cell leader George Daley's lab tried a new method, using RNA instead. RNA is the compound that carries out DNA's instructions.

To their surprise, RNA from the four "stem cell" genes worked to transform ordinary skin cells into iPS cells. These cells could, like stem cells, be made to form beating heart cells, nerve cells and other cell types.

They were also able to directly transform skin cells into muscle cells, they reported.

"We believe that our approach has the potential to become a major and perhaps even central enabling technology for cell-based therapies and regenerative medicine," they wrote.

"The methodology described here offers several key advantages over established reprogramming techniques."

They said, for example, it should make it easier for less specialised and experienced scientists to make and work with the cells.

Daley and other researchers also work with human embryonic stem cells and said using iPS cells was not an alternative to the controversial embryonic cells. They said all types of stem cell research were equally important as scientists learn how to use them.

Federal funding

The future of human embryonic stem cell research is being debated in US courts and in Congress. Opponents of the research say it is wrong to destroy a human embryo for any reason, even if the embryos are leftovers from fertility clinics that are destined for destruction.

Opponents of the research have sued the US government and the case is being considered by federal courts. A US appeals court ruled on Tuesday that federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research may continue pending a full appeal.

Members of Congress who support embryonic stem cell research say they are working on legislation to make it clear what the government may pay for.
Read more on:    stem cell research
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Oscar Pistorius
 

6 impressive camping tips

Check out these great tips that will make your camping experience so much better!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Free outdoor yoga classes
Watch: 5 skills to improve your BMX riding
Action camera for all occasions
Tips on how to set your fitness goals

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong social and romantic overtone that plays its way into your day. It may get stronger later in the day when the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.