The latest breakthrough in stem cell research turns skin cells into stem cells just as useful as embryonic stem cells, without the ethical issues. Adult stem cells and induced stem cells, while still able to become many other types of cells, still had some limitations. Researchers are saying, however, that stem cells using this new method, are just like embryonic.

We are getting to the point that using actual embryos is going to be completely unnecessary. It’ll be almost medieval to suggest using them, when skin (which is the largest organ in your body; did you know that?) are able to produce what’s required. I wonder how much the advance of methods to create embryonic-like stem cells was pushed forward by George W. Bush’s restriction of embryonic stem cell lines that could be used. Bush, then, was not anti-science, but pro-ethical-science.

US researchers have reported a breakthrough in stem cell research, describing how they have turned human skin cells into embryonic stem cells for the first time.

The method described Wednesday by Oregon Health and Science University scientists in the journal Cell, would not likely be able to create human clones, said Shoukhrat Mitalipov, senior scientist at the Oregon National Primate Research Center.

But it is an important step in research because it does not require the use of embryos in creating the type of stem cell capable of transforming into any other type of cell in the body.

The technique involves transplanting an individual’s DNA into an egg cell that has been stripped of genetic material, a variation of a method called somatic cell nuclear transfer.

"A thorough examination of the stem cells derived through this technique demonstrated their ability to convert just like normal embryonic stem cells, into several different cell types, including nerve cells, liver cells and heart cells," said Mitalipov.

    Filed under: ScienceStem Cells

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