Adult Stem Cells Advance Again

More good news from some researchers at UCLA:

UCLA stem cell scientists have reprogrammed human skin cells into cells with the same unlimited properties as embryonic stem cells without using embryos or eggs.

Led by scientists Kathrin Plath and William Lowry, UCLA researchers used genetic alteration to turn back the clock on human skin cells and create cells that are nearly identical to human embryonic stem cells, which have the ability to become every cell type found in the human body.

The implications for disease treatment could be significant. Reprogramming adult stem cells into embryonic stem cells could generate a potentially limitless source of immune-compatible cells for tissue engineering and transplantation medicine.

At least this would give the scientists who are trying to get those embryonic stem cells to actually work a way to get them without destroying embroyos.  Interesting that the release does say:

These new techniques to develop stem cells could potentially replace a controversial method used to reprogram cells, somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), sometimes referred to as therapeutic cloning. To date, therapeutic cloning has not been successful in humans. However, top stem cell scientists worldwide stress that further research comparing these reprogrammed cells with stem cells derived from embryos, considered the gold standard, is necessary.

At least they have a way to research without destroying living things.  Not that they actually want to stop destroying embryos:

“It is important to remember that our research does not eliminate the need for embryo-based human embryonic stem cell research, but rather provides another avenue of worthwhile investigation.”

No – you create stem cells which you report as being genetically identical to the originals and still you propose destroying life.

Finnish patient gets new jaw from own stem cells

Yet another success for adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells? still waiting on one single viable treatment.
clipped from www.reuters.com

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HELSINKI (Reuters) – Scientists in Finland said they had replaced a 65-year-old patient’s upper jaw with a bone transplant cultivated from stem cells isolated from his own fatty tissue and grown inside his abdomen.
Researchers said on Friday the breakthrough opened up new ways to treat severe tissue damage and made the prospect of custom-made living spares parts for humans a step closer to reality.
Using a patient’s own stem cells provides a tailor-made transplant that the body should not reject.
Suuronen and her colleagues — the project was run jointly with the Helsinki University Central Hospital — isolated stem cells from the patient’s fat and grew them for two weeks in a specially formulated nutritious soup that included the patient’s own blood serum.
The patient’s upper jaw had previously been removed due to a benign tumor and he was unable to eat or speak without the use of a removable prosthesis.
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