Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Scientists mimic embryonic stem cells using skin cells

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In a leap forward for stem cell research, three independent teams of scientists reported Wednesday that they have produced the equivalent of embryonic stem cells in mice using skin cells without the controversial destruction of embryos.

If the same could be done with human skin cells — a big if — the procedure could lead to breakthrough medical treatments without the contentious ethical and political debates surrounding the use of embryos.

But...it will take further study to see whether this scientific advance can be harnessed for creating new human therapies. For one thing, the procedure used to get the mouse skin cells to mimic embryonic stem cells wouldn’t be suitable. And it’s simply not known whether the mouse results can be reproduced with human cells.

Embryonic stem cells are prized because they can develop into all types of tissue. So experts believe they might be used for transplant therapies in people who are paralyzed or have illnesses ranging from diabetes to Parkinson’s disease.

Source : msnbc




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