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Friday, September 26, 2008

Stem Cell breakthrough - iPS cells from adult skin cells

Wired reports that Science will publish an article on a breakthrough in stem cell research.

iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells can be made from adult mouse cells, using viruses to insert genes that are characteristic of embryonic cells. The breakthrough is that the virus carriers do not persist, which would be a serious potential danger.

Here is an abstract of the forthcoming paper, from the American Association for the Advancement of Science web site.

Science is the most important scientific journal published in the US. All of the authors of the article are affiliated with Harvard. These facts, and the fact that this research builds on previous cutting-edge research by scientists at prominent institutions, should put to rest any complaints that stem cell research is ignoring the possibility of using cells which do not come from embryos. Stem cell researchers have been exploring that possibility, but, understandably, research with embryo-derived cells is further along.

Note that it is possible that this technique won't work in human cells, for some reason.

Thanks for reading.

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