Safer Stem Cells Bring Real-Life Treatments Closer

New possibility of regrown tissue without risk of rejection
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted May 29, 2009 11:34 AM CDT
Stem cell researcher Tadashi Sato holds a dish containing stem cell growth medium, at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, in Omaha, Neb., Monday, March 9, 2009.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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(Newser) – In a development that brings practical applications of manufactured stem cells closer than ever, scientists have created stem-like cells using human skin cells, Reuters reports. "After a few more flight tests—in order to assure everything is working properly—it should be ready for commercial use," a researcher said of the technique, which uses proteins rather than potentially dangerous viruses to create cells that act like embryonic stem cells.

The research raises hopes for treatments of a variety of disorders, including diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and spinal-cord injuries, reports Time. Because the cells can be grown from a patient's own tissue, the technique avoids the risk of rejection. “You just add some proteins to a few skin cells and voila!" said the researcher. "Patient-specific stem cells!”