Tuesday, February 12, 2008

UCLA team latest to replicate breakthrough

Another team has created pluripotent stem cells, this time from UCLA. The Daily Breeze reports:

Researchers at UCLA have become the first in the state to successfully create skin cells that can be used to treat a number of fatal or debilitating conditions without the use of human embryos or eggs.

The work, which has broad political and ethical implications, appears today in the academic journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings confirm earlier research by Wisconsin and Japanese scientists reported last fall.

The manufacture of these cells provides a potential coup for opponents of embryonic stem cell research, which involves destroying cells that some equate to destroying human life and raises ethical issues associated with regeneration of cells through human cloning.

The laboratory cells created at UCLA "were virtually indistinguishable from human embryonic stem cells," said Kathrin Plath, an assistant professor of biological chemistry at UCLA and lead author of the study. "We're very excited about the implications of this."

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