Skin Stem Cells Cure Sickle Cell in Mice

Latest advance in revolutionary research
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2007 3:28 AM CST
Skin Stem Cells Cure Sickle Cell in Mice
Laboratory mice used for genetic research.   (Magnum Photos)

In the latest advance in revolutionary new stem cell research, scientists have cured sickle-cell anemia in mice using stem cells made from skin. It's the first proof that such cells can be used to cure hereditary diseases. But because the cure involved the use of viruses to alter DNA, significant changes would have to be made before the technique could be used on humans.

The news follows revelations by scientists at two separate labs last month that they could grow stem cells from skin, replacing the controversial use of embryonic tissue. In the recent project detailed in Science, scientists removed a few skin cells from the mice, turned them into stem cells, replaced the section of their DNA that causes the blood disease, then developed them into healthy bone marrow cells. (Read more stem cells stories.)

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