October 17, 2008


Stem Cell Breakthrough: Mass-Production Of 'Embryonic' Stem Cells From A Human Hair (ScienceDaily, Oct. 17, 2008)

The first reports of the successful reprogramming of adult human cells back into so-called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which by all appearances looked and acted liked embryonic stem cells created a media stir. But the process was woefully inefficient: Only one out of 10,000 cells could be persuaded to turn back the clock.

Now, a team of researchers led by Juan Carlos Izpis├║a Belmonte at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, succeeded in boosting the reprogramming efficiency more than 100fold, while cutting the time it takes in half. In fact, they repeatedly generated iPS cells from the tiny number of keratinocytes attached to a single hair plucked from a human scalp.

Their method, published ahead of print in the Oct. 17, 2008 online edition of Nature Biotechnology, not only provides a practical and simple alternative for the generation of patient- and disease-specific stem cells, which had been hampered by the low efficiency of the reprogramming process, but also spares patients invasive procedures to collect suitable starting material, since the process only requires a single human hair.

Notice you don't have Michael J. Fox, Mrs. Reeves and Ron Reagan demanding that we harvest babies for them this time around?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 17, 2008 6:22 PM
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