Adult Stem Cell Therapy Blog

Researcher Turns Adult Cells Into Embryonic Stem Cells

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 - Stem Cell Guru

The 4th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research took place from June 29 - July 1 in Toronto, Canada.

The International Society for Stem Cell Research is an independent, nonprofit organization established to promote and foster the exchange and dissemination of information and ideas relating to stem cells, to encourage the general field of research involving stem cells and to promote professional and public education in all areas of stem cell research and application.

Amongst the presenters was a Japanese researcher who detailed the results of new studies he conducted showing the ability to turn mouse skin cells into cells that closely resemble embryonic stem cells. A discovery could provide another method for stem cell research that can be effective but doesn't require the destruction of human life for stem cells.

Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University in Japan reported he was able to boost the activity of just four genes to turn the skin cells into embryonic ones. Yamanaka said his research team thought they could reprogram adult stem cells to have embryonic properties.

When examined further, the embryonic-like adult stem cells formed several kinds of tissue in a petrii dish and produced tumors when injected into the mice -- both things that embryonic stem cells do.

Yamanaka's team has not tried the experiments with human cells yet because of differences in mouse and human development. He said there may be a different set of genes in human cells that would prompt adult cells to act like embryonic ones.


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