New Stem Cells a Genetic Match for Adults

Y. G. Chung et al., Cell Stem Cell (2014)

ScienceShot: New Stem Cells a Genetic Match for Adults

Replacement tissue that avoids rejection by a patient's immune system is a step closer to the clinic, as researchers have created human embryonic stem cells carrying the DNA of specific adults. Theoretically, such stem cells can form any of the body's cell types and could be used in new treatments for Parkinson's disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cardiac disease, and spinal cord injuries. Researchers reported creating the stem cells using skin cells from one 35-year-old male and one 75-year-old male online yesterday in Cell Stem Cell. The scientists built on the work of a team led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Mitalipov's group removed the DNA-containing nucleus from human eggs and replaced it with skin cells from infants and fetuses, a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). SCNT was used to clone Dolly the sheep in 1996. Rather than clone humans, researchers take the early stage embryos that result from SCNT and then derive stem cells (pictured above, fluorescently tagged red). The Mitalipov group was the first to get SCNT to work in humans, as they reported in Cell in 2013. But they used donor cells from fetuses and infants. The new study’s team showed that with minor tweaks, the technique works for adults.

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Posted in Biology, Health