Researchers pioneer new method to generate non-embryonic stem cells
Researchers pioneer new method to generate non-embryonic stem cells
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- In what one expert calls a “major paper,” researchers have reported new advances in creating efficient and safe alternatives to human embryonic stem cells.

A team led by Derrick J. Rossi of the Children’s Hospital Boston used laboratory-made versions of natural biological signals to quickly convert ordinary skin cells into cells that appear virtually identical to embryonic stem cells. They can then coax these cells to change into specific tissues that would be a match for transplantation into patients, the Washington Post reports.

Douglas A. Melton, co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, said the research produced a “major paper” in the field of regenerative medicine.

Previous research pioneered in 2006 involved the creation of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells by activating four genes. However, the process involved inserting genes into cells using retroviruses, which raised the risk the cells could cause cancer.

The new approach involves the use of messenger RNA (mRNA). According to the Washington Post, the DNA inside cells use mRNA to create proteins needed to perform various vital functions. The researchers created mRNA molecules carrying instructions to tell the cell’s machinery to produce the four key proteins needed to reprogram the cell into an iPS cell.

The researchers found their method to be surprisingly fast and efficient at reprogramming the cells. The cells were converted in about 17 days, about half the time of previous methods. In other aspects the method proved up to 100 times more efficient than previous approaches.

Tests indicated the cells had not experienced any disturbance to the DNA and were virtually identical to embryonic stem cells. The researchers successfully coaxed the cells to become muscle cells.

Embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) is controversial because it involves the use of cells harvested by killing human embryos. Its opponents include pro-life ethicists and Catholic bishops.

According to the Washington Post, Rossi and other researchers said ESCR is still crucial because the embryonic stem cells validate alternatives.

The legality of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research is currently being contested in court.

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


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 26, 2015

Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 3:22-30


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 3:22-30