"UCLA stem cell scientists have reprogrammed human skin cells into cells with the same unlimited properties as embryonic stem cells without using embryos or eggs.It's good to see this kind of research producing results. There is much to do before this translates into effective therapy, but some major hurdles are being overcome. It wasn't that long ago that many researchers were claiming that it was impossible to do what is now being reported.
Led by scientists Kathrin Plath and William Lowry, UCLA researchers used genetic alteration to turn back the clock on human skin cells and create cells that are nearly identical to human embryonic stem cells, which have the ability to become every cell type found in the human body. Four regulator genes were used to create the cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells or iPS cells.
The UCLA study confirms the work first reported in late November of researcher Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University and James Thompson at the University of Wisconsin. The UCLA research appears Feb. 11, 2008, in an early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences.
The implications for disease treatment could be significant. Reprogramming adult stem cells into embryonic stem cells could generate a potentially limitless source of immune-compatible cells for tissue engineering and transplantation medicine. A patient’s skin cells, for example, could be reprogrammed into embryonic stem cells. Those embryonic stem cells could then be prodded into becoming various cells types – beta islet cells to treat diabetes, hematopoetic cells to create a new blood supply for a leukemia patient, motor neuron cells to treat Parkinson’s disease. ..."
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
UCLA stem cell scientists reprogram human skin cells into embryonic stem cells: