In this month's issue of Nature, Haruko Obokata and colleagues have made a breakthrough in the field of stem cell research, where they describe a unique cellular reprogramming phenomenon in which skin and blood cells could be converted into stem cells without the need to physically manipulate the nucleus or over-express reprogramming genes. Rather, the researchers subjected them to stress "almost to the point of death", by exposing them to various events including trauma, low oxygen levels and acidic environments. One of these "stressful" situations was simply to bathe the cells in a weak acid solution for about 30 minutes. Within days, the scientists found the cells had not only survived but had also recovered by naturally reverting into a state similar to that of an embryonic stem cell.
The research suggests human cells could in future be reprogrammed by the same technique, offering a simpler way to replace damaged cells or grow new organs for sick and injured people. [more inside]
posted by kisch mokusch
on Jan 30, 2014 -