Researchers from Wisconsin and Japan announced they had reprogrammed adult human cells to act like embryonic stem cells, a discovery that researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine are calling a big step toward new therapies for disease.
The work marks the first time researchers have taken adult human cells and used them to create genetically identical stem cells that can then become a wide range of cell types. This technique eliminates the need to use human eggs and create embryos before harvesting the stem cells, overcoming what, to some people, is an ethically troubling aspect of the research.
“This is a truly wonderful discovery,” said Irving Weissman, MD, director of Stanford’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine.
Both Weissman and Renee Reijo Pera, PhD, director of human embryonic stem cell research and education, say they intend to continue pursuing all avenues of embryonic stem cell research. “We should not gamble on which method will prove best because patients who may have a narrow window of time for therapies depend on us to use the method that will get us there faster and best,” Weissman said.
Release date: November 20, 2007
Filed Under: Drug Discovery