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Stem-Cell-Like Cells Produced From Skin 265

MikShapi writes "Skin cells can now be turned into something resembling stem cells. A genetic modification to four genes using a viral vector reverses differentiating, making the cells revert to a stem-cell state, capable for becoming any other cell in the body. The researchers are calling them 'iPS cells' or 'induced pluripotent stem cells.' In their experiments, iPS cells in the lab turned into nerve cells, heart muscle, and other tissues. The research was published in Cell and Nature by teams from the universities of Kyoto and Wisconsin. The article notes that if the new method proves successful, 'we can disconnect the whole stem cell debate from the culture war, from battles over embryo politics and abortion rights.' And, should this technique be adopted, stem cells will henceforth be abundant, easier and cheaper to come by for research and therapeutic purposes."

'Bionic' Nerve To Repair Damaged Limbs and Organs 107

University of Manchester researchers have transformed fat tissue stem cells into nerve cells -- and now plan to develop an artificial nerve that will bring damaged limbs and organs back to life. In a study published in October's Experimental Neurology, Dr Paul Kingham and his team at the UK Centre for Tissue Regeneration (UKCTR) isolated the stem cells from the fat tissue of adult animals and differentiated them into nerve cells to be used for repair and regeneration of injured nerves. They are now about to start a trial extracting stem cells from fat tissue of volunteer adult patients, in order to compare in the laboratory human and animal stem cells.

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