Mar 02 2009

Stem Cells From Skin Cells

Published by at 3:46 pm under All General Discussions,Stem Cell Debate

Seems some in the blogosphere are just learning about last year’s break through in generating stem cells from the patient’s skin cells. Glenn Reynolds says “faster”, I say “try and keep up”.

Addendum: To be fair, last year’s break through was in mice, while this year it is in humans (as I predicted, it was a quick transition given the organ involved (skin)).

The researchers produced the cells by using strands of genetic material, instead of potentially dangerous genetically engineered viruses, to coax skin cells into a state that appears biologically identical to embryonic stem cells.

“It’s a leap forward in the safe application of these cells,” said Andras Nagy of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, who helped lead the international team of researchers that described the work in two papers being published online today by the journal Nature. “We expect this to have a massive impact on this field.”

In the new work, Nagy and his colleagues in Toronto and at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland instead used a sequence of DNA known as a transposon, which can insert itself into the genetic machinery of a cell. In this case, the researchers used a transposon called “piggyBac” to carry four genes that can transform mouse and human embryonic skin cells into iPS cells. After the conversion took place, the researchers removed the added DNA from the transformed cells using a specific enzyme.

These are the true miracles of medicine, which Bush helped promote by blocking funding for the still futile efforts to derive therapies from butchered young humans at the sunrise of their life.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Stem Cells From Skin Cells”

  1. crosspatch says:

    well, the idea is to attempt to create embryonic stem cells which is still a solution in search of a problem. There still is not one documented therapeutic application for embryonic cells, though that might change if we can figure out how to “switch” them from embryonic mode to adult mode once they have grown the desired tissue.

    The problem is now that the cells just keep on keeping on and generate tumors. Until there is an application for these cells, it doesn’t appear to me to be all that big of a deal.

  2. [...] but cancerous growths have come of it, while now we can generate endless amounts of stem cells from human skin – which are basically identical to embryonic stem cells. Human skin is the one organ that can be [...]