Loading
New ethical stem cell production technique confirmed

.- Researchers said on Thursday that they had proven in principle a new type of stem cell could be used as therapy after they used the cells to treat mice with sickle cell anemia, Reuters reports.

A team at the Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts used stem cells created from skin cells to treat mice engineered to have sickle cell anemia, a blood disease caused by a defect in a single gene.

The pioneering technique avoids using embryonic stem cells, which are produced by cloning an adult cell and then destroying the resulting embryo.

"This is the first evaluation of these cells for therapy," said Dr. Jacob Hanna, who worked on the study. "The field has been working for years on strategies to generate customized stem cells," he added in a telephone interview.

The new technique, developed by US and Japanese researchers, reprograms skin cells to behave like embryonic stem cells.  Four genes, what one researcher calls the “magic four factor,” are inserted into the skin cells to trigger the change.  The new stem cells are called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells for short.

Rudolf Jaenisch, a member of the Whitehead Institute, noted in a statement the technique’s potential: "This demonstrates that iPS cells have the same potential for therapy as embryonic stem cells, without the ethical and practical issues raised in creating embryonic stem cells."

The technique is in need of further study to resolve potential problems.  One difficulty is that the “magic four factor” genes are delivered using retroviruses.

"Once they enter the genome, there is the danger that they can silence some genes that are important or they can activate some dangerous genes that shouldn't be activated," Hanna said.

In addition, one of the four genes used is known to cause cancer, though the gene is removed after the cells are reprogrammed.

Hanna and other researchers said experimentation on human embryonic stem cells should continue.  "They are the gold standard for what is normal and how a stem cell should behave," Hanna said.

However, this method is opposed by the Catholic Church and pro-lifers because it relies on the destruction of a human embryo.

Stem cell researchers hope to treat many diseases like diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and spinal cord injuries.  Stem cell therapies created from a patient’s own cells would use genetically identical cells, thus avoiding immune system problems.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Papal Foundation Pilgrimage
Exorcism or prayer of liberation?
First meeting of Commission for Protection of Minors
Jul
22

Liturgical Calendar

July 22, 2014

Saint Mary Magdalene

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:24-43

Gospel
Date
07/20/14
07/19/14
07/18/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Mic 7: 14-15, 18-20

Saint of the Day

St. Mary Magdalene »

Saint
Date

Homily of the Day

Mt 12:38-42

Homily
Date
07/21/14
07/20/14
07/19/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: