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Embryonic Stems cells... without the embryo?

Medical Research Embryonic Stem Cells 2007

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#1 sierraleone


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Posted 21 November 2007 - 11:12 AM

Surprised no one has posted this yet.


In a stunning breakthrough, researchers have found a way to coax human skin cells to act like powerful embryonic stem cells without using human embryos or controversial cloning techniques effectively sidestepping the ethical obstacles facing the field.
The two research teams, one from Japan and one from the U.S., used a combination of four different genes to essentially reprogram adult cells back into embryonic stem cells.
"This is early days, this is proof of principle, but I think this is very encouraging that these cells are being reprogrammed into a state that has many of the properties of an embryonic stem cell."
"People didn't know it would be this easy," Thomson said. "Thousands of labs in the United States can do this, basically tomorrow.''

One of the most exciting possibilities of using the "reprogramming" technique is the ability to generate stem cells for an individual someone who needs them to repair a damaged spinal cord, say using cells taken from their own skin. This would prevent the body from rejecting transplanted organs and tissues, one of the challenges with current transplantation practices.

Scientists caution that questions and uncertainties remain about the pair of results. To induce a skin cell into pluripotency a state that mimics the multi-functional embryonic stem cells scientists shuttled a combination of four genes into the cell with the help of a retrovirus. This disrupts the DNA of the cell, which may cause cancer to develop.

"We don't know how exactly to control the expression of these genes," Rossant said, adding that the cells can't be used in their current state for therapeutic purposes. "It's not clear that these cells would be used for treating patients at this point."

Still, she said, the techniques and subsequent cell lines will create an ample supply of embryonic stem cells that will supply a host of possibilities for basic research, including the ability to study disease processes in greater detail.

Of course one could argue embryonic stem cells are still better because these ones mimic embryonic stems, but they actually aren't, and there could be differences. I don't care, in either case this is a huge leap forward for further studying stem cells and their potential.
Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#2 Godeskian


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Posted 21 November 2007 - 12:35 PM

And hopefully it will also silence the religous complaints about the destruction of life and actually allow us to move forward and use this technology to help people (bitter about it? oh no, not at all)

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#3 JamesValEson


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Posted 25 November 2007 - 12:17 PM

^ Um, that's the whole point of this. It makes it possible to make the cells Without destroying the embryos or cloning, the two arguments that the religious make ( myself included).

But on the topic, I agree whole- heartedly, this is Huge news in this field, and I hope they can now move forward without all the push and pull from the Pro Stem cell and Traditionalists (though I am wondering if there will be any holdouts on the Pro Stem Cell side, if not for any other reason than trying to continue sticking it to the opposition. Some of those in it just for politics might hold out as long as they can, even when their argument is obsolete).
I actually wonder if some of the pro side were trying to sit on this just to keep from having the proverbial 'egg of their faces' in regards to there not being any alternatives (before anyone jumps on me for saying that, let's just remember, those types come from All sides).

Anywho, lets put the bitterness behind, this is a win-win for all involved.

Barry, aka James ValEson, Captain of the starship USS Wolf 359, NCC-75820.

(Quotes from the dedication plaque for USS Wolf 359)

"This ship was built to honor those lost to the Borg at Wolf 359,
and made to keep it from happening again."
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#4 Caithness


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Posted 25 November 2007 - 06:19 PM

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