Saturday, August 30, 2008

'Just three days later, new insulin-secreting cells started to show up'

New cells without embryonic cells:

Scientists have long hoped to find a way to reprogram a patient's cells to produce new ones. Research with stem cells, and similar entities called iPS cells that were announced last year, has aimed to achieve this in a two-step process.

The first step results in a primitive and highly versatile cell. This intermediary is then guided to mature into whatever cell type scientists want. That guiding process has proven difficult to do efficiently, especially for creating insulin-producing cells, Gearhart noted.

In contrast, the new method holds the promise of going directly from one mature cell type to another. It's like a scientist becoming a lawyer without having to go back to kindergarten and grow up again, Melton says.

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