Sunday, December 23, 2007

Third research team experiences stem cell breakthrough

Reuters reports today that a third team of researchers has "found a way to convert an ordinary skin cell into valued embryonic-like stem cells, with the potential to grow batches of cells that can be directed to form any kind of tissue" ...

Their study, published on Sunday in the journal Nature, shows the approach is not a rare fluke but in fact something that might make its way into everyday use.

Scientists hope they are starting an age of regenerative medicine, in which people can get tailor-made treatments for injuries, diseases such as Parkinson's and diabetes, and in which scientists can study disease far better than before.

Dr. George Daley of Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston and colleagues got their skin cells from a volunteer, whereas the other two teams of researchers who have accomplished the feat got theirs from commercially available cells grown in labs -- a seemingly small difference, but one Daley says shows it is feasible to get cells from any volunteer.

"Ours is the only group to go from skin biopsy to cell line," Daley said in a statement.

They said they are now working to generate the so-called induced pluripotent stem cell or iPS cells to match a variety of diseases.

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