Thursday, June 07, 2007

Biologists Make Skin Cells Work Like Stem Cells

NYT reported In a surprising advance that could sidestep the ethical debates surrounding stem cell biology, researchers have come much closer to a major goal of regenerative medicine, the conversion of a patient’s cells into specialized tissues that might replace those lost to disease.
The NYT seems so happy that this discovery might sidestep the objections Pro Lifeers raise to the use of embryonic stem cells. They don't realize that we don't object to the cures; we object to the destruction of embryonic life to achieve the cures. We support adult stem cell research, cord blood work, and this sounds very promising.
The advance is an easy-to-use technique for reprogramming a skin cell of a mouse back to the embryonic state. Embryonic cells can be induced in the laboratory to develop into many of the body’s major tissues. If the technique can be adapted to human cells, researchers could use a patient’s skin cells to generate new heart, liver or kidney cells that might be transplantable and would not be rejected by the patient’s immune system. But scientists say they cannot predict when they can overcome the considerable problems in adapting the method to human cells.

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