Friday, May 16, 2014

Stem Cells Made From Skin Safely Grow New Bone in Monkeys for the First Time

Researchers have shown for the first time that it is possible to grow new bone from stem cells made from an animal's own skin cells. While this is not the first successful stem cell therapy tested on animals closely related to humans, it offers another potential source of stem cells for transplantation—the individual’s own adult cells.

In the new study, published online today in Cell Reports, researchers chose a type of monkey called the rhesus macaque as a model for how the technique might work in people. These primates are physiologically similar to humans, especially when it comes to their immune system and how it reacts to foreign bodies.

Researchers harvested skin cells from the monkeys and then genetically reprogrammed them into the equivalent of embryonic stem cells. Unlike adult cells, which are committed to being a specific type of cell (such as skin, bone, or heart-tissue cells), these so-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have the ability to mature into any other type of cell.

Full story here.

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